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Financial Inclusion
Strategy Peer Learning

Financial Inclusion
Strategy Peer Learning

Financial inclusion strategies (FIS) are comprehensive public documents that systematically accelerate a country’s level of financial inclusion. Typically, national financial inclusion strategies (NFIS) include analysis on a country’s current financial inclusion status and constraints, measurable goals, how and when that country proposes to reach these goals, and how the progress and achievements of the NFIS will be assessed.

A national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS) is a comprehensive public document formulated at the national level to systematically accelerate the level of financial inclusion in each country. Typically, an NFIS will include an analysis of the current status and constraints on financial inclusion, a measurable financial inclusion goal, how the country proposes to reach this goal and by when, and how it would assess the progress and achievements of the NFIS.” An NFIS is developed through a broad consultative process involving, among others, public and private sector stakeholders engaged in financial sector development.

It is not surprising that NFIS have gained traction in recent years, since the logic appears simple: greater financial inclusion promises more inclusive growth and development, while national strategies have the potential to accelerate financial inclusion. Empirical evidence appears to support this position. For example, the South Africa Financial Sector Charter helped increase the percentage of banked adults from 46% to 64% in four years, and six million basic bank accounts (Mzansi accounts) were opened. In the United Kingdom, a Financial Inclusion Task Force contributed to halving the number of unbanked adults through a variety of policy measures. Reinforcing this evidence, the World Bank recently reported that countries that have launched an NFIS have achieved much higher levels of financial inclusion than other countries in recent years. The evidence from countries such as Brazil, Malaysia, Namibia and Tanzania support this assertion. Analysis carried out by AFI and Bank Negara Malaysia has also reaffirmed the positive impact of NFIS.

The growing number of NFIS across all regions shows the influence of knowledge and peer learning on strategy development. However, it is important to note that practices tend to change over time based on how much knowledge is shared through mechanisms such as peer learning, and the extent to which this knowledge is applied in the strategy formulation process. As analysed in the FISPLG publication National Financial Inclusion Strategies: Current State of Practice, assessing the current state of practice of NFIS has other limitations, as well. First, there is no systematic database in place with general data on NFIS or on the specific practices different countries have adopted. Even the scattered data that is available relates mainly to the formulation of national strategies, while very little data is available on implementation and progress monitoring and evaluation. Second, there is no consensus on what should legitimately be included in an NFIS. For example, some countries tend to include macroeconomic development strategies even though these may not significantly or strategically address the core issues of financial inclusion.

NFIS are developed through broad consultative processes involving, among others, public and private sector stakeholders engaged in financial sector development. The growing number of NFIS across all regions shows the influence of knowledge and peer learning on strategy development.

Global trends in financial inclusion strategies include emerging issues such as climate change and marginalized groups. In addition to women, other groups that need to be considered when building national financial inclusion include youth, forcibly displaced persons and people with disabilities.

Fundamental and emerging topics under FIS are explored in-depth through AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategies Working Group (FISPLG).

A key commitment within the Denarau Action Plan is to “consider and implement best practices in integrating policies for women’s financial inclusion and gender considerations within NFIS” and to “develop knowledge products to support this work”.

FIS commitments are being implemented to ensure that national coordination is driving financial inclusion programs effectively.

PRIMARY THEMATIC AREA201220132014201520162017201820192020

Financial Inclusion Strategy
Maya Declaration Targets273341444863638186
In Progress81114151832324647
Completion Rate70%67%66%66%63%49%49.2%43%44%


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AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG)

Policymakers in the AFI network have reached a consensus that National Financial Inclusion Strategies (NFIS) are essential in coordinating financial inclusion policies and ensuring they are based on sound data and the impacts are robustly monitored. AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategy (FIS) Peer Learning Group promotes the development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of national financial inclusion strategies.



Nomcebo Hadebe, Ministry of Finance Eswatini

Co Chair

Mackay Aomu, Bank of Uganda

Co Chair

Mohanad Salous, Palestine Monetary Authority

Gender Focal Point

Liza Noor, Bank Negara Malaysia

FISPLG provides practical support to countries that have made commitments under the Maya Declaration and to the G20 through its Financial Inclusion Peer Learning Program.

  • Facilitate peer learning on the different approaches to strategy development and implementation across the network;
  • Provide a platform for peer reviews of draft strategies and action plans;
  • Develop joint guidance on aspects of national strategy formulation and implementation; and
  • Support the capacity of members to develop and implement financial inclusion strategies, including through connections to expert stakeholders.

Inclusive Green Finance Subgroup

Climate change poses risks to financial stability across the globe, but the impacts are more severely felt in developing countries. It affects GDP and economic growth through damage to property and infrastructure, loss of productivity, potential massive migration and severe damage to the agricultural sector while impacting the productive value chain. Although the call for a transition to lower-carbon economies is urgent, its full implementation will take some time. However, financial regulators in developing countries are leading the adoption and implementation of policies to tackle climate change through climate-adaptation and climate-mitigation initiatives that in turn foster greater financial inclusion: Inclusive Green Finance policies. The purpose of this Green NFIS guideline note is to support the AFI member institutions to accelerate the development of inclusive green finance policies to enhance sustainable potential for economic growth and to manage the financial risks associated with the impacts of climate change. It is designed in such a way to provide guidance and directions as AFI member institutions incorporate IGF into their NFIS as Green NFIS. FISPLG members, together with the IGF Working Group will be producing a Guideline Note on “Integrating Inclusive Green Finance in a National Financial Inclusion Strategy” in 2021 which follows the structure of the AFI NFIS Policy Model (2020).

  • Planned deliverable: Guideline Note on Integrating the IGF perspective in a NFIS.

NFIS Current State of Practice Subgroup

Given that fact that the typical NFIS duration is 3-4 years and the fact that AFI’s members have started their NFIS at different time intervals, a 2021 update is due to be able to capture the latest and most relevant updates and developments and compare these with countries which launched their NFIS before 2018, and those which have conducted a NFIS Mid-Term Review between 2018 and 2021. Given the impact of COVID-19 on NFIS development and implementation this Report will also be a timely publication to document various COVID-19 policy responses which are aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on NFIS. In 2020 FISPLG published the AFI NFIS Policy Model which is a compendium of NFIS good practices and this Policy Model can now be used as a solid framework to effectuate the stocktaking, including the measurement of the existence of cross-cutting or new topics in NFIS such as gender, youth, forcibly displaced persons (FDP’s), Inclusive Green Finance (IGF). The 2021 update will also aim to measure the potential impact of COVID-19 on the different NFIS components and the approaches used to mitigate COVID-19’s impact, to ensure continued NFIS progress and promote fair and equitable access to quality financial services in both the mitigation and recovery phases. While a subsection of this report will specifically focus on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on NFIS and actions undertaken to mitigate this impact, many of the actions/recommendations will be applicable to another crisis and therefore can considered in current and future NFIS so as to enhance resilience to crises. This update will also aim to measure progress related to other AFI financial inclusion agreements/accords, including the Denarau Action Plan (DAP) commitment 2.

  • Planned deliverable: Survey Report “NFIS: Current State of Practice (2021)

Enhancing Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas Subgroup

In recent years, the use of electronic technology is revolutionizing the provision of rural financial services, including insurance, and is driving down the costs of handling small transactions through branchless/mobile banking and these digitally enabled services and platforms (which bundle financial and non-financial services) are offering many small-scale growers new opportunities to engage in agriculture. Digitization offers the potential to revolutionize access to financial services in rural areas, provide more seamless connection for farmers and rural enterprises to value chains, reduce transaction costs for payments to suppliers, and increase financial resilience, for example through access to inclusive insurance. The increasing penetration of mobile financial services and biometric technologies that has been seen in recent years offers the potential to achieve efficient client enrolment and widespread access to digital payments. In short, digitization is a new frontier in developing vibrant, resilient rural and agricultural livelihoods.

  • Planned deliverable: Guideline Note on Enhancing Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas.
  • Planned deliverable: Integrating Digital Financial Services in National Financial Inclusion Strategies









  • Central Bank of Egypt
    Review of the State of Financial Inclusion Report draft report
  • Palestine Monetary Authority
    Review of Palestine’s NFIS
  • Bank of Uganda
    Review of Uganda’s NFIS
  • Bank of Zambia
    Review of Zambia’s NFIS
  • Bank of Zambia
    NFIS lII, Updated Draft I
  • Ministry of Finance Eswatini
    Draft document of Swaziland’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy
  • Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
  • Central Bank of Solomon Islands
  • Banco de Moçambique
    NFIS of Mozambique
  • Superintendence of Banking Peru
    NFIS of the Republic of Peru
  • Central Philippines
    NFIS of the Philippines
  • MOF Eswatini
    Country’s proposal for developing a NFIS and associated roadmap documents
  • Madagascar
    Country’s proposal for developing a NFIS and associated roadmap documents
  • Palestine
    Country’s proposal for developing a NFIS and associated roadmap documents
  • Superintendencia & Central Bank
    Country’s proposal for developing a NFIS and associated roadmap documents
  • Ecuador
    Country’s proposal for developing a NFIS and associated roadmap documents
  • Banque de la République d’Haïti
    Country’s proposal for developing a NFIS and associated roadmap documents
  • Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
    Country’s proposal for a NFIS document
  • Central Bank of Liberia
    NFIS of Liberia
  • Da Afghanistan Bank
    NFIS of Afghanistan
  • Autorité de Contrôle de la Microfinance
  • Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador
  • Banco Central de São Tomé e Príncipe
  • Banco Central de Timor-Leste
  • Banco de Moçambique
  • Banco Nacional de Angola
  • Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
  • Bangladesh Bank
  • Bank Al-Maghrib
  • Bank Negara Malaysia
  • Bank of Papua New Guinea
  • Bank of Sierra Leone
  • Bank of Thailand
  • Bank of Uganda
  • Bank of Zambia
  • Banque Centrale de Tunisie
  • Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO)
  • Banque Centrale du Congo
  • Banque de la République d’Haiti
  • Banque de la République du Burundi
  • Central Bank of Armenia
  • Central Bank of Egypt
  • Central Bank of Eswatini
  • Central Bank of Jordan
  • Central Bank of Lesotho
  • Central Bank of Liberia
  • Central Bank of Nigeria
  • Central Bank of Samoa
  • Central Bank of Solomon Islands
  • Central Bank of Sri Lanka
  • Central Bank of the Bahamas
  • Central Bank of The Gambia
  • Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • Centrale Bank van Suriname
  • Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores de México (CNBV)
  • Direction Générale du Trésor, Ministère de l’Economie et des Finances, Madagascar
  • Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia
  • Maldives Monetary Authority
  • Microcredit Regulatory Authority of Bangladesh
  • Ministère des Finances et du Budget du Sénégal
  • Ministry of Finance – Eswatini
  • Ministry of Finance Zambia
  • National Bank of Cambodia
  • National Bank of Tajikistan
  • National Bank of the Republic of Belarus
  • National Reserve Bank of Tonga
  • Nepal Rastra Bank
  • Palestine Monetary Authority
  • Reserve Bank of Fiji
  • Reserve Bank of Malawi
  • Reserve Bank of Vanuatu
  • Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
  • Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
  • Superintendencia de Bancos del Ecuador
  • Superintendencia de la Economía Popular y Solidaria de Ecuador
  • Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras de Costa Rica (SUGEF)
Events1st: Abuja, Nigeria2nd: Bangkok, Thailand
3rd: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
54th: Nadi, Fiji
5th: Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
6th: Manila, Philippines
7th: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8th: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
9th: Nadi, Fiji
10th: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
11th: Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
12th: Siem Reap, Cambodia
13th: Sochi, Russia
14th: Livingstone, Zambia
15th: Kigali, Rwanda
16th: Virtual Meeting
17th: Virtual Meeting
18th: Virtual Meeting
19th: Virtual Meeting
Member Institutions13264051596053535853
Knowledge Products
Policy Changes
Peer Reviews


Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG) Technical Virtual Meeting discussed the importance of integrating youth and forcibly displaced people in a national financial inclusion strategy followed by country-specific member testimonies and Q&A.

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Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG) Webinar on “Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Savings Groups” includes discussions on the concept of Gender Savings Groups (GSG), their advantages and disadvantages, the effects of COVID-19 on GSG and measures that can be taken to mitigate these effects. The webinar concludes with participants exploring why COVID-19 policy responses need to be financially inclusive and gender-sensitive.

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