In September 2015, Cenfri and insight2impact (i2i) team members participated in the 7th AFI Global Policy Forum in Maputo, Mozambique. The event was attended by over 450 senior financial inclusion policymakers and regulators, along with leaders from international organisations and the private sector. Herman Smit, interim lead of i2i, made an introductory presentation to the Alliance for Financial Inclusion Data Working Group (FIDWG) on the new i2i facility, which is jointly hosted between FinMark Trust and Cenfri to advance the impact of data in financial inclusion.
The presentation introduced the five focus areas of the i2i facility. Two of the five focus areas – measurement and data quality – have particular relevance to the members of the FIDWG, which include regulators and policymakers. At the time of the meeting, 12 countries had approved a national financial inclusion strategy and 11 others had indicated they were in the progress of designing one. The national strategies rely on key measurement indicators to inform and monitor the impact of their financial inclusion interventions. The FIDWG has already developed and endorsed measurement frameworks for access and usage indicators and at this meeting endorsed guidelines for new quality indicators for financial inclusion. The i2i will continue to take this work on measurement frameworks forward by identifying further priority areas for improved financial inclusion measurement and developing additional indicators.
Within FIDWG the use of demand-side surveys are on the rise with 12 members reporting to have conducted a national demand-side survey in the last two years and 9 planning to conduct one in the next year. A further 6 countries have conducted GIS mapping, but more expressed an interest in this approach in the future. The i2i facility is already working with members of the FIDWG and will continue to provide support to them and financial inclusion intermediaries for these data interventions in financial inclusion.
For example, in July 2015, i2i hosted a workshop for financial sector deepening trust (FSDs) in Johannesburg, South Africa entitled Location Matters: GIS in Financial Inclusion. FSDs act as financial inclusion intermediaries in a number of countries across Africa and support local stakeholders including regulators and policymakers. The workshop brought together FSDs and their partners to focus on how they can use GIS and GIS data to better understand the local challenges they face in advancing financial inclusion.
In addition to the presentation made to the FIDWG, Herman Smit and Doubell Chamberlain, Managing Director of Cenfri, participated in a session at the AFI GPF on Harnessing technology for effective financial inclusion measurement. This session looked at how new technologies and partnerships are creating a clearer picture of the state of financial inclusion and how data can be used to monitor and evaluate the impact of these policies.
Herman Smit moderated the session, while Doubell Chamberlain presented on the insights emerging from MAP on data and measurement in financial inclusion. Doubell highlighted the importance of understanding the market before developing detailed measurement frameworks. This requires balancing exploratory data used to understand the market with data used to compare and measure progress in financial inclusion. In addition, he revealed that the evidence from MAP highlights that the assumption that there is a linear path from access to usage to quality may in fact be misguided. The current focus on access may come at the expense of value to consumers, resulting in lower usage and more adults sticking with informal services.
The other panellists in the session included Juan Carlos Chong from SBS Peru and the Chair of AFI’s Financial Inclusion Data Working Group, Atiah Abdul Razak from Bank Negara Malaysia, Veriemi Levula from the Reserve Bank of Fiji, and Lara Storm from MIX Market. They shared examples from their experiences with data and measurement in financial inclusion. Please click here to read the full write-up of the session in the AFI 2015 Global Policy Forum Report.