BRIEF

Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF)

January 13, 2016



Background:  

The Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF) is a World Bank Group (WBG) initiative that aims to accelerate and increase the effectiveness of reforms and other country-led actions to achieve national financial inclusion goals. Launched in April 2013 and welcomed by the G20 Finance Ministers and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, FISF helps scale up and leverage the WBG’s policy dialogue, analytical work and financing for financial inclusion. FISF has initial funding of $25 million from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and $5.7 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

FISF-supported activities aim to help catalyze private sector financing, knowledge and innovation, resulting in the usage of a broad range of financial services – payments, savings, insurance, credit -- by low-income individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), that are currently un-banked or under-banked. 

Design

FISF has two main components:Image

The Country Support Programs (CSPs) are structured as three to four year-long technical assistance programs organized under four thematic areas:

1.    National financial inclusion strategy, monitoring and evaluation;

2.    Financial infrastructures, such as payments and credit reporting systems;

3.    Diversified financial services for individuals and enterprises; and

4.    Financial consumer protection and financial capability.

Technical assistance provided under the CSPs builds on and contributes to public and private sector commitment to financial inclusion. They support the design and implementation of key policy and regulatory reforms, financial infrastructure development, the increased effectiveness of programs in strategic areas such as Government-to-Person payments, and help improve the financial capability of key population segments.  

The Knowledge component supports analysis, synthesis, and knowledge sharing in key underserved areas, such as the financial inclusion of women and individuals engaged in agriculture, and efforts to leverage digital payments to provide access to a broader set of financial services. 

Implementation and early results:

Country Support Programs:  CSPs have been implemented in Rwanda, Indonesia and Mozambique since 2014, and in Ethiopia and Zambia since 2015. CSPs in Pakistan, Cote d’Ivoire and Vietnam started implementation this year.

Early results that benefitted from analytics and advisory services provided under the CSPs include:

  • Preparation and adoption of National Financial Inclusion Strategies in Ethiopia and Mozambique.
  • Adoption of key regulations in Indonesia (alternative dispute resolution), Rwanda (disclosures on credit products), and Mozambique (banking agents and microinsurance).
  • Design, testing and rollout of a financial education program in Rwanda for members of savings and credit cooperatives.
  • Strengthened capacity of key departments and units within critical national institutions, including: the banking supervision and payment departments in the Rwandan Central Bank and the financial services department in the Rwandan Ministry of Finance; the new financial complaints unit at the Rwanda Office of the Ombudsman; the payments and behavioral supervision departments in the Bank of Mozambique; the payments department in the Indonesian Central Bank and Financial Consumer Protection department of the Indonesian Financial Services Authority. 

Work is underway to support several legal, regulatory and policy actions in the program countries.  These include: support for the development of laws and strengthened requirements on disclosure, financial consumer protection, and credit reporting in Rwanda; agent banking regulation in Indonesia; and National Financial Inclusion Strategies in Zambia and Vietnam. Work to improve availability of high quality data on financial inclusion and impact of key activities is also underway. These include national level surveys to measure financial inclusion (Ethiopia), financial capability (Zambia), cost and volumes of payments (Pakistan), and an impact evaluation to assess the impact of financial education (Rwanda).

Knowledge activities under implementation include: financial inclusion for agriculture-dependent households; women and finance; and two activities related to leveraging technology for financial inclusion.

Since individuals engaged in agriculture are estimated to constitute more than 25%of the financially excluded, improving their access to financial services is critical to achieve the Universal Financial Access by 2020 goal. A global experts workshop on Financial Inclusion of Agriculture Dependent Households was held at The Hague, Netherlands in June, 2015,  a report on the workshop has been published and disseminated. Two key takeaways from the workshop were: a) the need to focus on broader array of financial services rather than just credit or insurance for agricultural production, and to improve the quality of data on financial inclusion of agricultural households; and b) the opportunity to facilitate increased use of transaction accounts to send government payments and remittances to agricultural households.

The potential impact of extending digital financial services through widespread acceptance among small retailers is substantial given their ubiquitous presence in most countries and the frequency of purchases by their customers. However, the majority of small retailers don’t use electronic means to make or receive payments.  A report on innovations in electronic payment adoption for small retailers has been published and disseminated.  The report estimated the global market opportunity for expanding electronic payments adoption of small retailers to be USD 19 trillion (the estimated value transacted in cash and checks in the form of retail sales, supplier payments and wage payments). The report also identified key obstacles to electronic payment adoption, and public and private sector actions to overcome these obstacles to expand financial access. 

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2016