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 $6.7 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
FISF supported activities aim to help catalyze private sector financing, knowledge and innovation, to spur 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), who are currently un- or under-banked.
FISF has two main components:
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, and 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 build on and contribute to public and private sector commitment to financial inclusion. CSPs 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.
FISFs Knowledge component supports analysis, synthesis, and knowledge sharing in key underserved areas, such as the financial inclusion of women and individuals engaged in agriculture, leveraging digital payments to provide access to a broader set of financial services.
Implementation and early results:
Country Support Programs: CSPs were launched in Rwanda, Indonesia, and Mozambique in 2014, in Ethiopia and Zambia in 2015, and in Pakistan, Cote d’Ivoire, and Vietnam in 2016.
Achievements that have benefitted from the analytics and advisory services provided under the CSPs include:
· The preparation and adoption of National Financial Inclusion Strategies in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zambia. Additionally, FISF also supported an updated NFIS for Indonesia and a National Financial Sector Development Policy for Zambia.
· The adoption of key regulations: in Indonesia (alternative dispute resolution; e-money; Financial Information Service System (SLIK) credit reporting regulation; internal dispute resolution); Rwanda (updated legal framework for microfinance; disclosures on credit products and Key Facts Statements for transactions and savings accounts and insurance products); Mozambique (banking agents and microinsurance; secured transactions and collateral registry law); Vietnam (payments systems oversight circular); Pakistan (electronic money institutions regulation).
· In Rwanda, the adoption of updated off-site and on-site SACCO supervision guidelines and manuals that follow international best practice.
· Also in Rwanda, the design, testing and rollout of a financial education program for members of savings and credit cooperatives. Management and leaders from 135 SACCOs, who received training and financial education materials developed with FISF support, trained nearly 70,000 individuals, mostly SACCO members, 53 percent of whom were women.
· The introduction of the Asaan Mobile Account scheme, a digital transaction account model for remittances, to help build an improved ecosystem for digital financial services in Pakistan.
· Also in Pakistan, the launch of the Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company (PMRC) to increase access to affordable housing finance for middle- and low-income populations.
· In Ethiopia, the development and implementation of the financial inclusion module in the National Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) survey, including the publication of the final report and data.
· In Zambia, roll out of a financial education as part of the digitization of a social cash transfer program, Supporting Women’s Livelihood, to over 12,000 women (jointly supported by the Social Protection & Jobs Global Practice), supporting the financial inclusion component of a National Risk Assessment on AML/CFT , and the launch of the first phase of the National Switch to ensure interoperability amongst bank ATMs.
· Also in Zambia, a financial awareness text messaging campaign to encourage savings and improve loan repayment behavior was developed, which has already reached over 75,000 adults since launching in December 2018.
Strengthened capacity of key departments and units within critical national institutions, including:
· 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, as well as support for the creation of the new market conduct supervision unit and Business Development Fund
· Payments and behavioral supervision departments in the Bank of Mozambique, as well as for the establishment of the Technical Implementation Unit for Mozambique’s NFIS, and the leadership of the Access and Usage working group;
· The Agricultural Steering Committee and Financial Consumer Protection Institution (Observatoire) in Cote d’Ivoire;
· The payments department in the Indonesian Central Bank and Financial Consumer Protection department of the Indonesian Financial Services Authority;
· The new consumer protection unit in the Bank of Zambia, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Secretariat jointly led by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Zambia.
Several legal, regulatory and policy actions in the program countries are supported by FISF. These include support for:
· Agent banking regulation, dispute resolution and digital financial services (e-money) regulations in Indonesia;
· The development of a national financial inclusion strategy and a financial education framework as part of the updated national curriculum in Vietnam.
· A national payments systems strategy in Pakistan.
FISF also supports improvements to the availability of high quality data on financial inclusion and improved understanding of the impact of key activities. These include:
· A demand-side assessment of financial capability, which informed the development of an NFIS and financial sector development policy (Zambia);
· The diagnostic review of financial consumer protection and financial literacy (Ethiopia), to inform a forthcoming National Financial Education Strategy;
· A study on the cost and volumes of payments, an agrifinance scoping assessment, and collection of gender-disaggregated supply-side data (Pakistan);
· An impact evaluation to assess the impact of a financial education program (Rwanda);
· An agrifinance diagnostic and options appraisal, and a mapping exercise to assess government-to-person and large employer payments for potential digitalization (Cote d’Ivoire);
· An agrifinance diagnostic, and an institutional diagnostic of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (Vietnam);
· And a geospatial mapping platform tracking NFIS progress (Mozambique and Pakistan).
Knowledge: Knowledge activities under implementation include: financial inclusion for agriculture-dependent households, women and finance, and leveraging technology for financial inclusion. Two additional activities have also been recently introduced to explore consumer risks in digital finance and document FISF learnings to inform effective policymaking beyond the program itself.
Individuals engaged in agriculture are estimated to constitute more than 25 percent of the financially excluded globally, which makes them a critical segment in achieving the Universal Financial Access. A global experts workshop on Financial Inclusion of Agriculture Dependent Households was held at The Hague, Netherlands on June 23rd and 24th, 2015, and a report on the workshop has been published and disseminated. Two key takeaways from the workshop were: a) 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.
Digital technologies have already begun to transform how adults around the world save, make payments, transfer money, borrow and manage risk. The Digital Financial Inclusion knowledge activity explores the potential of such technology in financial inclusion across various fronts. A note 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), identified key obstacles to electronic payment adoption, and public and private sector actions to overcome these obstacles to expand financial access. A related note explores the potential for smart contracts - programmable contracts that automatically execute when pre-defined conditions are met - in the context of financial inclusion. Additionally, a guidance report on digital savings draws insights from a number of country case studies to identify the characteristics of digital savings products and business models that enhance savings product access. It also highlights important policy issues for fostering digital savings market development. The full report has been published, along with a corresponding public brief.
The Women and Finance knowledge activity examines the issues contributing to the persistent gender gap in financial inclusion. A recently published report, State of Women’s Financial Inclusion in Pakistan, provides insights to the low levels of financial inclusion for women in Pakistan, one of the countries where access and ownership is particularly uneven across genders. Key insights from the report were disseminated in an international conference in Pakistan. Activities in the pipeline include a diagnostic study of trade finance for women entrepreneurs in the East African Community and a Gender Financial Inclusion Toolkit to guide policymakers on developing and implementing more inclusive financial inclusion strategies.
The first of the new knowledge activities, Addressing Consumer Risks in Digital Finance, aims to better understand the nature of new consumer risks posed by digital finance, to identify learnings and new approaches, and to develop appropriate tools and policy guidance to address and mitigate consumer risks that are deemed high-priority and where there are clear gaps in existing international guidance and knowledge.
The second new activity, FISF Program Implementation Knowledge, aims to document the insights and learnings from the experience of the country programs under FISF. It involves learning notes, blogs and dissemination events to reflect on the FISF experience and share the findings to inform effective future policymaking beyond the FISF program.
Last Updated: May 09, 2019