FIGI country programs provided tailored technical support (including diagnostic assessments, advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building, and pilots of innovative approaches) relevant to digital financial inclusion, with a focus on improving the legal and regulatory framework, financial markets infrastructure, and ICT infrastructure.
The country programs were designed to strengthen and implement core drivers of financial inclusion to reach universal financial access: financial product design (including digital payments and other financial services), financial literacy and awareness, diversifying access points, and leveraging large-volume, recurring payment streams. The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded rapidly from a health emergency to an extraordinary shock to the global economy with far reaching consequences for financial markets. Emerging markets and developing countries, some of which were prone to financial market volatility before the coronavirus pandemic, are especially exposed. Governments and policymakers around the world, including in FIGI countries, have taken swift action to respond to COVID-19 and offset negative effects on firms and vulnerable individuals.
The FIGI project supported the Egyptian authorities in their efforts to expand financial inclusion by helping authorities develop and modernize payments systems and strategies (including retail payments), improve consumer protection, leverage innovative technologies and data-driven solutions for financial inclusion. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) finalized their respective financial consumer protection regulations with technical inputs from the FIGI project. These regulations are harmonized across common products that are regulated by the two institutions. The CBE recently adopted and circulated these in a circular dated 19th February, 2019 on Banking Sector Consumer Protection. The comprehensive financial consumer protection guidelines document by FRA was also subsequently approved by the FRA Board.
The Financial Inclusion Global Initiative supported the Chinese authorities in their efforts to expand financial inclusion by helping provide assistance around developing innovative products and services targeted to meet the needs of China’s underserved populations, enhancing the usage of products and services through agents, leveraging innovative technologies to improve current infrastructures, developing enabling legal / regulatory frameworks for Fin- Tech to promote financial inclusion and improving ICT for digital financial services.
The Financial Inclusion Global Initiative supported the Mexican authorities in their efforts to expand financial inclusion by helping provide assistance around enhancing the usage of products and services through agents and electronic payments, leveraging innovative technologies and solutions to improve identification and know-your-customer regulations for financial services, developing enabling legal / regulatory frameworks for FinTech to promote financial inclusion, enhancing consumer protection, awareness and financial literacy, improving the delivery of social benefit programs nationwide and improving ICT for digital financial services. The FIGI Mexico team worked closely with the Mexican authorities on the release of secondary regulations (following the FinTech law) around the registration of FinTech companies as Financial Technology Institutions. The FIGI Mexico team also supported a Financial Education Workshop for Policy Makers in Mexico held in July 2019.
FIGI country programs were closely coordinated with the FIGI working groups to bring innovative approaches, best practices, toolkits and policy recommendations developed by the working groups to the country implementation programs to be considered by the country authorities for piloting and implementation. Learnings and progress were reported during the Global FIGI Symposia.