• AFI Deputy Executive Director Norbert Mumba during FISPLG & SMEF Working Group Meetings in Livingstone, Zambia on 1 April, 2019.
AFI Deputy Executive Director Norbert Mumba during FISPLG & SMEF Working Group Meetings in Livingstone, Zambia on 1 April, 2019.

Joint Financial Inclusion Strategy (FISPLG) and SME Finance (SMEF)
Working Group Meetings
Monday,1st April 2019 
Livingstone, Zambia

Opening Remarks by AFI Deputy Executive Director, Norbert Mumba 

  • Governor Bank of Zambia, Dr. Denny Kalyalya
  • Deputy Governor Bank of Zambia - Operations, Dr. Bwalya N'gandu
  • Mrs. Nangi Massawee, Bank of Tanzania and Chair of Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG)
  • Mrs. Zaira Badillo, Comision Nacional Bancaria y de Valores de Mexico (CNBV), Chair of SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG)
  • Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen,

Mwabuka buti (good morning) Mwapona (How are you) and a very good morning to you all. Welcome to the beautiful and picturesque city of Mosi-oa-Tunya Victoria Falls!

Your Excellency, it is my great pleasure this morning to welcome you all to the 14th Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG) Meeting and 12th SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG) Meeting, here in Livingstone, famously known as the Victoria Falls or “The Smoke that Thunders”.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to express my utmost gratitude and accolade Dr. Denny Kalyalya, Governor, Bank of Zambia and his wonderful team at the Bank of Zambia for their endless support and excellent arrangement in hosting and organizing meeting of this.

I would like to acknowledge the presence of Deputy Governor Operations, Dr. Bwalya Ngandu, our partners, and all organisations that have worked with the Bank of Zambia for their continuous engagements and technical supports to this working group meeting.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Bank of Zambia first joined AFI as a principle member in 2010. Since then, it has been an active and most engaged member, represents in all six AFI Working Groups, namely Consumer Protection & Market Conduct (CEMC), Digital Financial Services (DFS), Financial Inclusion Data (FID), Financial Inclusion Strategy (FIS), Global Standards Proportionality (GSP) and SME Finance (SMEF). In addition, Bank of Zambia also plays a significant role in giving advice and guidance to the AFI Management Unit as Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Zambia, sits as the Chair of the AFI’s Gender and Women’s Financial Inclusion Committee (GWFIC).

Ladies and gentlemen,

From the last Global Findex 2017, we have seen the number of exclusions drop from 2.5 to 2.0 and currently stands at 1.7 billion. These figures are commensurate to the efforts for better inclusion. Having said that, at AFI, working groups are one of the AFI services that provide the right platform in harnessing proven and practical financial inclusion policies. Today, we have come to the last leg of the working group meeting, which is the joint-working group of FISPLG and SME Finance. With the presence of more than 100 representatives from both working groups, the FISPLG and SMEWG intertwine in a way that the latter is a subset of the overarching national financial inclusion strategy. Indeed, when we mention financial inclusion, the first thing that comes to mind is the household or individual. But, let us not forget, enterprises and businesses are equally important to get them included. In fact, in most of the national financial inclusion strategies, if not all, MSMEs have become one of the pillars for a holistic inclusion. Furthermore, as we develop the MSMEs, the spillover goes beyond enterprises, which include employment, export and overall economic trajectory.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Working Groups have a very special role to play in our journey to becoming a Policy Leadership Alliance. As we begin the implementation of the AFI Phase III Strategy in 2019, and as directed by the membership council during the AGM in 2018 in Sochi, Russia, the AFI network’s focus is now on three main strategic objectives: (a) Issuing Policy Guidance or Models, (b) In-country Implementation Support, and (c) Global Voice.

Allow me to go briefly on individual workstream of both working groups. FISPLG looks at the overarching perspective of financial inclusion through the national financial inclusion strategies or NFIS and cascade it into the development of implementation at programs level. As such, last year we produced an updated version of our “National Financial Inclusion Strategies: Current State of Practice” knowledge product which provides a comprehensive scoping of the NFIS approaches of our members. This knowledge product is a one of a kind and is widely referenced by the financial inclusion community when it comes to implementing NFIS. This is also demonstrated by our NFIS capacity building programs where implementation of the NFIS make up most of the content of our Joint Learning Programmes and Peer Advisory Services.

As for the SME Finance Working Group, it promotes the discussion and the implementation of smart policy frames that facilitate access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to bridge the financing gap, particularly for microenterprises that pose higher risk. The working group emphasis the works on members’ common definition for MSMEs, SME education, gender and credit infrastructure which include credit guarantee in mitigating the financial risk. End of last year, it produced knowledge products on agricultural finance interventions in the Kingdom of Eswatini and Ghana.

Hon Governor, let me also take this opportunity, through you, to encourage our policy makers globally to urgently strengthen the existing national strategies and frameworks for support to MSME’s by developing a support architecture that takes into account the growth stages of MSME’s to avoid the one size fits all approach that has challenges in responding to MSME demands.

Specifically, our financial systems must take into account, Seed and Start-ups, Early Growth enterprises, Enterprises at growth and expansion stage and Large enterprises. If we did this, we will help our industries to grow and ween them off support early. This may require a re-look at Developmental and financial infra-structure; financing and Guarantee scheme; Avenues to seek information and redress; Debt resolution and management; and Outreach awareness and programmes.

My second appeal Hon Governor is for the need to build into our strategies policy that are responsive and mitigate the impact of climate change as witnessed in the region recently. The catastrophic consequences witnessed recently are stalk reminder that unless our financial inclusion policies build in protection or resilience we stand to lose the gains we have made. We are glad that our Financial inclusion and Climate Change (FICC) Team is here with us today to share our recent studies. I would also like to acknowledge the support from The German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for supporting our climate change workstream.

We would like to express our gratitude to the FISPLG and the SMEFWG members for their tireless efforts and commitment to developing knowledge products, which we intend to use as policy guidance at the country level.

We hope in this meeting, we could synergize the two thematic topics via our convergence sessions that is on informal sectors and advancing financial inclusion in the rural areas. Both topics cater to the need of good policy reforms driven by overarching NFIS that by design, address challenges for entrepreneurs to register their businesses and ensure effective financial service outreach in the rural areas of our jurisdictions. I am glad Zambia has made major strides in simplifying registration of companies and businesses and may have important lessons to share. In the following days, each working group will focus on their individual thematic topics and embed cross-cutting topics namely fintech, gender and women’s financial inclusion, forcibly displaced persons (FDPs), and the newest, climate change, in their deliberations and activities. The meeting will end with a field trip to Zambia’s impressive cottage industry.


As AFI adopts its AFI Phase III Strategy, it is time for reflection on the path we have tread together and the way forward. AFI services have evolved in the past ten years - as AFI has expanded, as AFI network members have made significant progress and as the financial inclusion horizon has drastically changed. Much more has to be done but as, AFI Executive Director, Dr Alfred Hannig emphasizes, it is not about the speed that it takes to reach total financial inclusion but the big challenge of sustain the high levels of financial inclusion. Quoting him “AFI strives for sustainable and high-quality financial inclusion. We are realistic that it takes time and considerable investment to achieve this goal. Ten years is not enough.”

AFI reaches out to its members through a diverse range of services – in-country implementation, capacity building events, working group, global and regional policy forums and via the AFI Data Portal. The quality and success of these initiatives rests equally on two pillars – quality content and quality delivery.

AFI is now in the position in terms of changing gears to support in-country implementation efforts of our members as international government agencies have recognized the role of AFI in closing the remaining inclusion gap (DFS, gender, inclusive green finance, etc.).

Allow me to end by reminding you that our upcoming 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum- the first to ever be held in Rwanda, the Heart of Africa. Under the theme " Using Technology for Inclusion of Women and Youth" we are now working closely with National Bank of Rwanda to create a milestone event. The GPF will be held from 11 – 13 September 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda with the Regional Initiative and Working Group meetings set to take place the 9 - 10 September. We again expect this to be a memorable GPF- and the Working Groups will play a key role in its success. 

On that note, I wish to again congratulate the Bank of Zambia, my colleagues at AFI here with me and at our offices and our partners for hosting these meetings and welcoming us all to this beautiful country and I cannot resist to say, my home. To Working Group members who are attending the working groups for the first time, I trust that you will find your participation worthwhile. To the leadership teams of the FISPLG and SMEFWG, and members, I wish you all fruitful and positive deliberations, and a successful week ahead.

“Twalumba, (Zikomo Kwambili)!” (thank you very much)


This working group meeting was funded through AFI’s Multi-Donor Financial Inclusion Policy Implementation Facility (MD-PIF), comprising the French Development Agency (AFD), the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Ministry of Finance of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

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