The Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) is a three-year program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to support and accelerate the implementation of country-led reform actions to meet national financial inclusion targets, and ultimately the global ‘Universal Financial Access 2020’ goal.
Financial inclusion is a critical enabler for poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Access to transaction accounts opens up a pathway to broader financial inclusion, whereby people and firms can make financial transactions more efficiently and safely, access funds (whether payments, credit, savings, or other) invest in the future, and cope with economic shocks. Access to transaction accounts also enables participation in the digital economy, and is a critical building block for digital development too.
FIGI is a collaborative initiative among the World Bank Group, the BMGF, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) with broad participation from public and private sector partners in its activities.
Together these organizations galvanize the work of the CPMI-World Bank Group Task Force on the Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion (PAFI), the BMGF’s Level One Project, and the ITU Focus Group – Digital Financial Services, to deliver implementation solutions, deep topical analyses and practical investigations, working toward the goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020.
FIGI will enable national authorities in developing and emerging markets to better utilize the potential of digital technologies for financial inclusion, and to manage associated risks. The design of country programs will be informed by the PAFI framework and guiding principles, which were developed by a task force of financial regulators chaired by the World Bank and CPMI, by the recommendations of the ITU Focus Group on Digital Financial Services, and by the BMGF’s Level One Project principles.
In particular, FIGI funds national implementations in three countries – China, Egypt and Mexico; supports working groups to tackle three sets of outstanding challenges for reaching universal financial access: (1) electronic payment acceptance, (2) digital ID for financial services, and (3) security; and hosts three annual symposia to gather national authorities, the private sector, and the engaged public on relevant topics and to share emerging insights from the working groups and country programs.