> Posted by Anita Gardeva

Can 80 individuals help expand financial inclusion to 2.5 billion excluded people? Yes, if these individuals are key policymakers in countries where the majority of financially excluded people live.  The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is a global network of policymakers, which recently completed its first member survey of close to 80 policymakers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The survey reveals the current efforts and challenges of financial inclusion policymaking around the world.

The findings shared in the report, “The AFI survey on financial inclusion policy in developing countries: Preliminary findings,” highlight that:

  • Policymakers recognize that achieving financial inclusion requires coordinated, flexible, and tailored policies.
  • There is demand for country-specific data and best practices from other countries in order to make better policy decisions.
  • Policymakers realize that no single technology or product can lead a financial-inclusion strategy, but also struggle with understanding the regulatory risks of technology and financial innovation.
  • Policymakers agree that encouraging savings and promoting bank engagement is important but note that lack of market response is a bottleneck.
  • Consumer protection is a top priority.

What I found most interesting however, was the general trend of how policymakers become involved with financial inclusion. The survey indicates that the typical entry point to financial inclusion for policymakers is microfinance. As countries achieve a significant level of success with microfinance they might undergo a “financial inclusion breakthrough point,” after which they are able to take a more confident and proactive approach towards financial inclusion. This concept of a tipping point that propels nations forward on financial inclusion is valuable and worth better understanding.

The survey’s findings are a stepping stone for all of us interested in advancing financial inclusion—so how do we now turn these insights into action?

For more information, sign up for updates from the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign.