As part of the Fourth High Level forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), which took place 29 November – 1 December 2011 in Busan, Republic of Korea UNCDF hosted a side event to present its new diagnostic and action framework for accelerating financial inclusion ‘FIRE’ (Financial Inclusion Roadmap Exercise).
Under UNCDF ownership and co-designed with FinMark Trust and the Center for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri), FIRE is a multi-country initiative to support financial inclusion through a process of evidence-based country diagnostic and dialogue, leading to the development of national financial inclusion roadmaps that identify key drivers of financial inclusion and recommended action. Bringing together a broad range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, the process helps “break silos,” examining issues that used to be compartmentalized and linking them across the financial sector.
FIRE is different from previous methods in that it offers a holistic approach that goes beyond the diagnostic to map a process and set it up for implementation. It takes a broad view of financial inclusion through the ranges of products and services, institutions, delivery channels and actors and in particular assesses what are (or could become) the key drivers to financial inclusion, especially the innovations around agent and branchless banking. It incorporates deep quantitative and qualitative diagnosis and analysis, setting the stage for well-informed dialogue among stakeholders. It finally ensures the development of a straightforward and compelling national road map with key actions going forward. In that respect, FIRE is both a technical diagnostic tool and a country programming process around financial inclusion, led by national authorities and enabling strengthened donor coordination in that area.
FIRE has been designed to promote the principles of the Paris Declaration, including national ownership and donor coordination. During its rollout phase in 2012-13 FIRE is expected to generate the partnerships and resources to expand access to appropriate and affordable financial services to millions of poor families and microenterprises in developing countries.