Gender Inclusive

Gender Inclusive

More than one billion women continue to be excluded from formal financial services, according to the 2017 Global Findex, with the gender gap in access remaining stuck at nine percent in developing economies. In this context, women’s financial inclusion has emerged as a priority among financial inclusion policymakers, development actors, international organisations and financial service providers

Greater financial inclusion of women also makes business sense with estimates suggesting that advancing women’s equality could add some USD12 trillion to global gross domestic product by 2025. Women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) already make significant contributions to the economies in which they operate. They account for a third of all SMEs, a segment that has long been recognised as an important engine of growth and job creation.

Alongside gender-sensitive policies, collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data is essential to address this gender gap as it can both inform evidence-based financial inclusion policymaking and track the effectiveness of efforts to address barriers faced by women.

Denarau Action Plan

As part of efforts to boost women’s access to quality and affordable financial services globally and move towards bridging the financial inclusion gender gap, AFI members endorsed the Denarau Action Plan (DAP) at the 2016 AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF). The DAP aims to accelerate the progress of women’s financial inclusion by supporting members who are trying to halve the financial inclusion gender gap across AFI member jurisdictions by the end of 2021.

Supporting these aims is AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance Committee (GIFC), which was established at the 2017 AFI GPF in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. GIFC provides leadership on advancing and promoting women’s financial inclusion across the AFI Network. Committee members are: Bank of Zambia, Central Bank of Egypt, Central Bank of Lesotho, National Bank of Rwanda, National Bank of Cambodia and Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador and Da Afghanistan Bank.

Since adopting the DAP, AFI’s working groups have completed more than 21 publications that guide policy and regulatory efforts that drive financial inclusion for women. Under the Maya Declaration, 40 AFI members have made at least one commitment related to gender and women’s financial inclusion. To date, 22 policy changes in the area of gender inclusive finance have been reported by 13 member institutions.

GIF Maya Declaration Commitments by AFI members:

PRIMARY THEMATIC AREA 2012 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Gender Inclusive Finance
Cumulative Targets 1 2 4 10 37 68 84
New Targets 1 1 2 6 27 31 16
Completed 0 0 1 1 1 8 9
In Progress 1 2 3 9 36 60 75
Completion Rate(%) 0% 0% 0% 0% 2.7% 11.7% 10.7%


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Gender Inclusion Ambassadors

Launched at the 2019 AFI GPF, Gender Inclusion Ambassadors provide recognition of AFI member institutions that are leading the network in efforts to close the financial inclusion gender gap and fulfil their commitments made under the DAP.

  • Bangladesh Bank
  • Bank of Tanzania
  • Bank of Zambia
  • Bank of Ghana
  • Banque de la République d’Haiti
  • Central Bank of Egypt
  • Central Bank of Lesotho
  • Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV)
  • National bank of Cambodia
  • National Bank of Rwanda
  • Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

The objectives of the Gender Inclusion Ambassadors:

  • Prioritize the gender financial inclusion agenda by identifying gender-based barriers and then developing practical policy and regulatory solutions to address gender exclusion issues and, ultimately, reduce or close the financial inclusion gap in their respective countries.
  • Take steps to promote a sustainable and inclusive environment within their institutions that supports gender equality and diversity.
  • Act as a national, regional and global ambassador for GIF within the AFI network and at global events.
  • Support the delivery of the DAP through strategic implementation plans.
  • Provide thought leadership on GIF which can be presented as blogs, short videos and commentary pieces.

AFI’s Gender Inclusive Finance workstream is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and other partners.

Download GIF Factsheet

“If we do not halve the gender gap in our jurisdictions by 2021, we would have significantly moved the dial in the right direction.” Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, Deputy Governor, Bank of Zambia

“If we do not halve the gender gap in our jurisdictions by 2021, we would have significantly moved the dial in the right direction.” Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, Deputy Governor, Bank of Zambia

The 10-point action plan

With the Denarau Action Plan (DAP), AFI members are empowered to:
Incorporate gender considerations while promoting peer learning and developing knowledge products within the AFI Network.
Encourage each other to set specific objectives and targets for women’s financial inclusion — within the framework of Maya Declaration and their national financial inclusion strategies
Consider and implement integrated policies combining women’s financial inclusion and national financial inclusion strategies — through the Financial Inclusion Strategies (FIS) Peer Learning Group
Call on financial institutions and private sector organizations — particularly through the Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) platform — to take concrete actions in better understanding the female market segment
Leverage digital financial services to accelerate progress.
Facilitate the adoption of policy and regulatory approaches to enhance consumer protection for digital credit in Africa.
Highlight the role of appropriate financial infrastructures such as,credit bureaus and electronic collateral registries
Invite focal points from AFI working groups to coordinate with the FIS Peer Learning Group, leading on issues relating to gender and women’s financial inclusion
Promote collaboration with government agencies, development partners and civil society to identify gender-specific barriers to financial inclusion — and encourage effective data collection for smart policies and regulations
Develop and promote best practices in collecting, analyzing and using sex-disaggregated data via the Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Group
Drive greater gender diversity within their financial institutions
AFI members made Maya Declaration commitments on gender and women’s financial inclusion
AFI Data Portal



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