Gender Inclusive

Gender Inclusive

More than one billion women continue to be excluded from formal financial services, according to the 2017 Global Findex, with the gender gap in access remaining stuck at nine percent in developing economies. In this context, women’s financial inclusion has emerged as a priority among financial inclusion policymakers, development actors, international organizations and financial service providers

Greater financial inclusion of women also makes business sense with estimates suggesting that advancing women’s equality could add some USD12 trillion to global gross domestic product by 2025. Women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) already make significant contributions to the economies in which they operate. They account for a third of all SMEs, a segment that has long been recognized as an important engine of growth and job creation.

Alongside gender-sensitive policies, collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data is essential to address this gender gap as it can both inform evidence-based financial inclusion policymaking and track the effectiveness of efforts to address barriers faced by women.

AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance workstream is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and other partners.

Denarau Action Plan

As part of efforts to boost women’s access to quality and affordable financial services globally and move towards bridging the financial inclusion gender gap, AFI members endorsed the Denarau Action Plan (DAP) at the 2016 AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF). The DAP aims to accelerate the progress of women’s financial inclusion by supporting members who are trying to halve the financial inclusion gender gap across AFI member jurisdictions by the end of 2021.

Supporting these aims is AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance Committee (GIFC), which was established at the 2017 AFI GPF in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. GIFC provides leadership on advancing and promoting women’s financial inclusion across the AFI Network. Committee members are: Bangladesh Bank, Banco Central del Paraguay, Bank Al-Maghrib Morocco, Palestine Monetary Authority, Bank of Ghana, Bank of Uganda and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Since adopting the DAP, AFI’s working groups have completed more than 21 publications that guide policy and regulatory efforts that drive financial inclusion for women. Under the Maya Declaration, 40 AFI members have made at least one commitment related to gender and women’s financial inclusion. To date, 22 policy changes in the area of gender inclusive finance have been reported by 13 member institutions.

Leadership and Diversity Program for Regulators

This program, taught by Women’s World Banking and Faculty from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, implemented together with the AFI, brings together senior officials from central banks and other regulatory agencies and high-potential women from their respective institutions. The objective of this program is to support financial regulators to develop policies that close the gender gap in financial inclusion, and to build women’s leadership pipeline in regulatory organizations. The virtual program will be held virtually from 2 May 2022 to 29 July 2022. The closing date for applications is 28 February 2022.

Learn more here.

GIF Maya Declaration Commitments by AFI members:

PRIMARY THEMATIC AREA2012201420152016201720182019

Gender Inclusive Finance
Cumulative Targets12410376884
New Targets1126273116
In Progress1239366075
Completion Rate(%)0%0%0%0%2.7%11.7%10.7%


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Gender Inclusion Ambassadors

Launched at the 2019 AFI GPF, Gender Inclusion Ambassadors provide recognition of AFI member institutions that are leading the network in efforts to close the financial inclusion gender gap and fulfil their commitments made under the DAP.

The objectives of the Gender Inclusion Ambassadors:

Download GIF Factsheet

“If we halve the gender gap in our jurisdictions by 2021, we would have significantly moved the dial in the right direction.” Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, Deputy Governor, Bank of Zambia

“If we halve the gender gap in our jurisdictions by 2021, we would have significantly moved the dial in the right direction.” Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, Deputy Governor, Bank of Zambia

The 10-point action plan

With the Denarau Action Plan (DAP), AFI members are empowered to:

Incorporate gender considerations while promoting peer learning and developing knowledge products within the AFI Network.

Encourage each other to set specific objectives and targets for women’s financial inclusion — within the framework of Maya Declaration and their national financial inclusion strategies

Consider and implement integrated policies combining women’s financial inclusion and national financial inclusion strategies — through the Financial Inclusion Strategies (FIS) Peer Learning Group

Call on financial institutions and private sector organizations — particularly through the Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) platform — to take concrete actions in better understanding the female market segment

Leverage digital financial services to accelerate progress.

Facilitate the adoption of policy and regulatory approaches to enhance consumer protection for digital credit in Africa.

Highlight the role of appropriate financial infrastructures such as,credit bureaus and electronic collateral registries

Invite focal points from AFI working groups to coordinate with the FIS Peer Learning Group, leading on issues relating to gender and women’s financial inclusion

Promote collaboration with government agencies, development partners and civil society to identify gender-specific barriers to financial inclusion — and encourage effective data collection for smart policies and regulations

Develop and promote best practices in collecting, analyzing and using sex-disaggregated data via the Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Group

Drive greater gender diversity within their financial institutions


AFI members made Maya Declaration commitments on gender and women’s financial inclusion

AFI Data Portal



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