Now reading: Research themes

Research themes

Covering a broad set of issues in financial-sector development, our research explores the role of the financial sector and financial services in improving societal outcomes. This exploratory research generates local knowledge, informed by a global understanding, thereby achieving a powerful and mutually reinforcing impact cycle.

Consumer Outcomes

A financial sector that works for consumers has a suite of products and features that are suitable to consumers’ needs, are safe from cybercrime and that protect consumers’ privacy.


Digital Transformation & Data

Cenfri contributes to building the fundamentals of welfare-enhancing digital economies. We prioritise digital transformation that is inclusive, sustainable, opportunity-creating and has appropriate safeguards.

Financial Inclusion

Whether it is digital payments, resilience for MSMEs or financial integrity, much of our work is underpinned by the desire to create more inclusive financial systems and services.

Financial Integrity & Identity

With an emphasis on inclusive financial integrity, Cenfri provides technical assistance, tools and skills building to policymakers, regulators, supervisors and compliance heads looking to apply risk-based and outcomes accountable approaches to money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation-financing risk strategies.

Governance Policy & Regulation

Policymakers, regulators and supervisors in emerging markets are under pressure to develop, implement and enforce policy and regulation that conforms to global best practice but is effective locally despite considerable constraints.

MSMEs, Ecosystems & Economic Opportunity

Improved economic opportunity and more resilient livelihoods are key to sustainable development in emerging markets. Interventions designed to support micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs), startup ecosystems and more established value-chains need to be effective in unlocking innovation and employment if they are to contribute to economic growth.

Payments & Remittances

Cenfri has broad experience in fit-for-purpose payment systems in emerging markets, particularly in Africa. We work towards making retail payments a public good, assisting central banks, payments operators and payment system participants navigate domestic and cross-border payments modernisation in a manner that contributes to economic inclusion.

Resilience & Insurance

Cenfri has deep insurance expertise from working with the insurance markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Insurance penetration in these markets is often low and we understand the need for responsible market innovation so that insurance fulfils its optimal role in building resilience, supporting business growth, and contributing to broader policy and development objectives.


While global efforts prioritise carbon emission reduction, Africa contends with immediate losses—environmental degradation, food scarcity, and economic instability—challenges that threaten to unravel development and exacerbate poverty. This highlights the need to merge development and climate strategies, ensuring community resilience under these conditions.