The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) held a workshop entitled “Facilitating Inclusive Financial Markets” in the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand on December 2, 2015.
UNCDF has undertaken extensive work in the area of financial inclusion and recently launched a market development programme entitled Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT). CGAP has also undertaken a significant amount of work in the area of financial inclusion and recently published new funder guidelines, which encourage funders to take a market systems approach to financial inclusion. Currently, CGAP is in the final stage of developing a Measuring Market Development handbook for funders and their implementers. The handbook aims to provide practical guidance and tools on developing measurement systems appropriate for financial inclusion programmes that take a market system development approach.
In the opening sessions Mayada El-Zoghbi, Senior Finance Sector Specialist of CGAP, stated there was a need to reassess the role of funders in building inclusive financial markets, explaining: “We have seen positive change in the number of those with access to an account, but the progress has not been commensurate with the investments made. Collectively we have done a lot, but we have not made leaps in achieving financial access to the poor. Through engagement with donors and stakeholders, we identified that there was a need to think about the role of funders in a different way. We identified a market systems approach as the most promising opportunity to get beyond symptoms of exclusion.”
In this workshop, CGAP also discussed its work on developing new measurement principles, tools and approaches that would help funders measure the impact of their interventions on market systems. CGAP and UNCDF will also collaborate to pilot and stress-test the measurement principles, tools and approaches through the SHIFT programme. These initiatives will culminate into a CGAP market systems measurement handbook for funders which will be released for public commentary in 2016.
During the conference, Feisal Hussain, SHIFT Programme Manager, noted: “Bringing about systematic change in financial markets requires multiple actors in the system to develop and collaborate around a shared vision and common analysis, bringing our different capabilities to solve a common problem. However, concerns over how to attribute the relative contribution of different actors in a collaborative process often got in the way of fostering collective efforts to change market systems. Having CGAP develop a robust measurement methodology and make it a core agenda for funders will go a long way to fostering proactive collaboration among funders to co-invest in addressing market-failures in the financial system.”
In May 2014, UNCDF launched the SHIFT programme. Through the programme, UNCDF seeks to connect the poorest and most vulnerable—especially women and small businesses owned, managed or predominately serving women —to formal financial services in the South East Asian countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam. SHIFT will do this in part through strong coordination with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
CGAP is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives.