Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF)

July 11, 2022


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 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 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:Image

The Country Support Programs (CSPs) were structured as three- to four-year 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 built on and contributed to public and private sector commitment to financial inclusion. CSPs supported the design and implementation of key policy and regulatory reforms, financial infrastructure development, and the increased effectiveness of programs in strategic areas, such as Government-to-Person payments, and helped improve the financial capability of key population segments. All CSPs concluded by June 2020 and the program concluded in June 2021. 

FISF’s 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 leveraging digital payments to provide access to a broader set of financial services. 

Country Support Programs

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. Selected achievements resulting from FISF supported work in these countries include:

1.     National Strategic Priorities:

  • The preparation and adoption of National Financial Inclusion Strategies in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Vietnam and Zambia. Additionally, FISF also supported an updated NFIS for Indonesia and a National Financial Sector Development Policy for Zambia, and supported the implementation of NFIS in Pakistan and Cote d’Ivoire.
  • The development of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy and a financial education framework as part of the updated national curriculum in Vietnam.
  • The launch of the National Payments Systems Strategy in Pakistan.
  • The adoption of the National Financial Education Strategy in Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia.

2.     Key Regulations and Policies:

3.     Targeted Financial Inclusion Initiatives:

  • The design, testing and rollout of a financial education program for members of savings and credit cooperatives in Rwanda. 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 Zambia, the 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.

4.     Strengthening key units/departments:

  • 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, 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.

5.     Data and Analytics:

  • 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.
  • 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 (based upon which three agrifinance programs have been set up), 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 of financial access points (Ethiopia, Mozambique and Pakistan). 


FISF has supported the following knowledge activities to promote understanding of critical issues in financial inclusion:

1.     Building an Inclusive Financial Sector for Agriculture-dependent Households:

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 objectives.

  • 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.
  • A published report on the digitization of agricultural payments in Sub-Saharan Africa to advance financial inclusion among farmers in the region.

2.     Digital Inclusion Acceleration:

A note on innovations in electronic payment adoption for small retailers has been published and disseminated. The report identified key obstacles to electronic payment adoption, as well as public and private sector actions to overcome these obstacles to expand financial access. A related 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 findings from these reports were presented at several global and regional forums attended by over 500 participants in total.

3.     Leveraging Technology for Financial Inclusion:

Digital technologies have already begun to transform how adults around the world save, make payments, transfer money, borrow and manage risk. Activities under this stream that explore the potential of such technology in financial inclusion across various fronts:

  • A note (and corresponding blog) explores the potential for smart contracts - programmable contracts that automatically execute when pre-defined conditions are met - in the context of financial inclusion.
  • 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 blog and public brief.
  • A synthesis report on fast payments as a part of a comprehensive toolkit on instant payments, that will guide countries and regions on likely alternatives and models has been published, along with a corresponding blog soliciting public comments. This synthesis report was the culmination of sixteen deep dives and fifteen focus notes.
  • A note on the legal, regulatory and oversight implications of innovations in retail payments as well as two more notes as part of a comprehensive toolkit on instant payments, covering risks in fast payment systems and implementation considerations, have been published.

4.     Creating an Inclusive Financial Sector for Women:

This knowledge activity examines the issues contributing to the persistent gender gap in financial inclusion.

5.     Addressing Consumer Risks in Digital Finance:

This activity 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. Outputs so far include:

  • A note on suptech that explores 18 suptech solutions for market conduct supervision has been published, along with an accompanying blog.
  • A note on consumer risks in fintech has been published with an accompanying blog.
  • A note on the role of consumer consent in open banking has been published.

6.     FISF Program Implementation Knowledge:

The activity 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. Outputs so far include:

  • A blog on measuring demand-side financial inclusion data.
  • A report and blog on how policymakers can leverage geospatial technology to highlight gaps in financial infrastructure and identify high priority growth areas to boost financial inclusion.
  • A technical note and blog on tools for digitizing government payments, leveraging the key learnings from FISF have been published.
  • A report on lessons learned from the implementation of National Financial Inclusion Strategies in FISF countries has been published and will be disseminated.
  • A report on how national authorities can build a financial education approach has been published and will be disseminated.
  • A technical brief on testing of key facts statements has been published, along with templates for key facts statements that can be used by financial sector authorities and policy makers.
  • A convening FISF Learning Series, featuring livestream and pre-recorded sessions and insight videos to discuss the learnings gained from FISF implementation experience and launch several new publications. The first two webinars of the FISF Learning Series titled ‘Consumer Risks in Fintech’ and ‘The Next Wave of Suptech Innovation: Suptech Solutions for Prudential and Market Conduct Supervision’ respectively were held in April 2021. The other webinars of the series covered a range of topics leveraging learnings from FISF, including: The Role of Data in Women’s Financial Inclusion; Digitizing Government Payments; Protecting Consumer Data in Open Banking; and Retail Payment System Governance.

Last Updated: Jul 11, 2022