Consultant: African Development Bank (AfDB) Gender Case Studies


Development of seven-member case studies charting the progress members in Africa are making to increases women and girl’s inclusion in the formal financial system

1. About AFI

The global development landscape is in a period of rapid and significant change, allowing a new model for cooperation to emerge: The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is a, horizontal model, peer learning network for financial regulators and policymakers from developing and emerging countries. AFI enables international cooperation and knowledge exchange that empowers developing and emerging countries to drive their financial inclusion agendas and strengthen their collective voice.

Established as a project in 2008 through an initial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to GIZ, AFI became the world’s first peer learning and knowledge sharing platform for developing and emerging countries’ financial regulators, to promote policy formulation and implementation to expand financial services for the world’s poorest. Since then, AFI has transitioned from a project to a sustainable, independent, member-owned institution — a policy driving network that supports impactful and scalable financial inclusion policies affecting millions of unserved and underserved people. Because AFI is a member-driven organization, its programs and services are designed specifically to meet members’ policy needs and interests. Likeminded funding partners, including the BMGF and Sida, continue to support AFI programs and member services through a combination of financing and technical contributions.

The AFI network consists of 99 regulatory and policymaking institutions in 80 developing and emerging countries around the world. AFI members are primarily central banks, ministries of finance and economy, and other regulatory bodies, which hold the mandate to develop and implement financial inclusion policies. AFI is headquartered and registered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as an International Organization Under Malaysian Law, and hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia. It also has regional representation in the LAC region, an African Regional office and a European representative office. To date, AFI members credit over 600 policy improvements to their engagement and peer learning in AFI.

AFI is a member-driven network whose members direct and implement the work streams themselves. Existing work streams on policy and regulatory approaches to drive financial inclusion include digital financial services, consumer protection and empowerment, SME finance, financial inclusion data, national financial inclusion strategies, and global financial standards. More recently, inclusive green finance and gender inclusive finance has been identified as priority policy themes and incorporated into the work streams mentioned above. Gender is considered a foundational element in all of AFI’s work.

AFI’s members are actively engaged in advancing financial inclusion policy at national, regional and international levels through partnerships and cooperative arrangements with other regulators, as well as with international organizations and private sector leaders. The network uses the depth of its unique knowledge and experience, to produce regulatory guidance, provide insights on innovative policy developments and highlight proven solutions in the field of financial inclusion.

The cooperation model upon which the network is built is representative of a paradigm shift in international cooperation for development and is based on three key priorities:

• Members’ demand-based approach: This is grounded in the core ethos of AFI as a member-owned organization where the design and implementation of programs are demand based, relevant, appropriate and a priority for members. This approach has created ownership and a sense of pride as ever more ambitious targets are set and achieved.
• Peer-to-peer engagement: The value of knowledge and experience is not judged by the size or wealth of any one institution. The AFI cooperation model creates a community of equals where every member, no matter how large or small, is given the opportunity to share as well as to learn.
• Advancing sustainable financial inclusion: Supporting members to develop, implement and advance high impact financial inclusion policies and regulations that ensures the most affected segments of the population are included such as women, youth, forcefully displaced persons, and SME enterprises. As well as advancing sustainable financial inclusion policies to address the risks of climate change and factoring in financial integrity, innovation, and consumer protection.

2. Project Background

In 2016 the AFI membership endorsed the Denarau Action Plan (DAP). This 10-point action plan highlights actions members can take to increase women’s financial inclusion and develop a pipeline of women leaders withing the financial regulatory sector.

The members also made a commitment to halve their respective gaps in women’s access to finance, by the end of 2021. Whilst not all the members will fully complete this commitment due to a range of barriers, including socio-cultural barriers, which go beyond the remit of financial regulators and more recently, the economic impacts of COVID-19 among others, they are making much progress across a wide range of policy and regulatory areas to develop gender sensitive solutions and remove gender barriers to enable more women to sustainable engage in and continue to use the formal financial system.

In 2019 the AFI Management Unit established a Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF) business unit within the organization. It aims to support members with the design and implementation of DAP commitments including their monitoring and evaluation. The unit further shares these learnings and showcases to the membership good use cases and success stories that can be scaled across the network. The aim of the unit is for the systematic integration of the GIF perspective in all areas of policy programs, capacity building and all other initiatives undertaken by AFI members, so they can eventually remove any gender gap in their jurisdictions and ensure women and girls have access to and usage of quality financial products and services to meet their financial needs. This work is further supported with strategic guidance from the high-level GIF Committee, which is populated by seven senior policy makers (Deputy Governor level or equivalent) from across the network.

In response to the growing demand for more best practice policy guidance for members’ adoption and to act as a catalyst for others to emulate and close their gender gap by the end of 2021, AFI is taking steps to highlight the progress members have made in advancing women’s financial inclusion through a series of member case studies, gathered from the network. This is in line with AFI’s effective bottom up approach in developing need-based technical insights and knowledge products, for the purpose of guiding members to navigate policy challenges to advance women’s financial inclusion in their jurisdictions.

These case studies will cover different members across the Africa region, who are at different stages in their financial inclusion journeys and will be developed as a series that will follow a similar format, whilst allowing for the individual member journeys to be fully captured and explored.

The seven case studies will focus on the progress different members, across the Africa region, are making towards fulfilling their DAP commitments. These case studies will explore the following:
• Assess the role of policy and regulation in tackling key barriers to women’s uptake of financial services
• Highlight the challenges and opportunities presented when trying to increase women’s financial inclusion
• Identify regulation and policies that have been proven effective in advancing women’s financial inclusion with a special focus on DFS and women’s financial inclusion policies
• Highlight the major milestones, targets and drivers for women’s financial inclusion in the respective jurisdictions, and lastly,
• Reflect on members’ own unique needs, challenges, successes and financial inclusion objectives.

3. Objective:

The main objective of this project is to address the lack of a systematic review of practical policy actions that members have undertaken to address their gender gaps. This will be addressed through the following interventions:
• Development and dissemination of seven case studies
• Peer to peer knowledge exchange programmes to showcase lessons learned and practices that can be replicated in other member jurisdictions
• Technical support to principal member institutions, to undertake similar policy and regulatory reform in their own jurisdictions and scale up the learnings delivered by these case studies
• Amplify members’ voices and the work of the member institutions featured in the case studies, through communications campaigns, AFI events and external events.

4. Scope of Work and Deliverables

4.1 Key Tasks
AFI is seeking an expert to structure and develop a series of seven case studies which contain the following elements.
• A short overview of the status of women’s financial inclusion, with regard to access, usage and quality indicators, within the member’s jurisdiction, including comparisons to 2016 when the DAP commitment was made
• An overview of how a baseline was established and what targets were then set relating to women and or girls and why they were set.
• An in-depth look at commitments made by financial policy makers and regulators, the range of policy and regulatory solutions that have been undertaken to date, how and why they were undertaken and what challenges were discovered
• An analysis on the relevance and impact of DFS within the policy solutions implemented
• A real-life story or portrayal of up to two cases per country of previously unserved or underserved women or female households or women owned/led SMEs who benefitted from enhanced access to formal financial services
• An overview of the identifiable broader impact that these interventions have had so far, in particular but not exclusively related to the reduction of the gender gap
• An overview of how coordination, monitoring and evaluation has been undertaken to ensure the women financial inclusion policy initiatives are achieved
• The lessons learnt and the recommendations for other regulators and policymakers to follow
The deliverable will be seven case studies in a single word document (no more than 5,000 words long, per case study, with a total of no more than 35,000 words, excluding diagrams, references and annexes), which is a finalized product ready for copyediting and design. The case studies will be informed by desk research, interviews with AFI staff and AFI members.

The case studies will focus on the work of the financial regulator in the following jurisdictions.

  • Nigeria
  • Morocco
  • Rwanda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Senegal
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

This project is part of the AFI and African Development Bank (AfDB) partnership under the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program and supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). AFI views financial inclusion, not only as an important tool to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality but as an important enabler to fulfil the sustainable development goals and ensure no one is left behind.

Vital to the implementation of this project is the country-owned and country-driven approach to the development of the said case studies which will serve as a uniquely valuable resource to the AFI members being engaged and the wider network. It will also provide an important public good, to support the advancement of gender inclusive finance across the Africa Region and globally by AFI and AfDB members, partners and stakeholders.

5. Project Approach

To achieve the objectives of this very time sensitive assignment, the Consultant will engage with the AFI GIF and AfDB teams to be provided with the surrounding context and project objectives. The Consultant will:
• Map existing literature in the areas of women and girl’s financial inclusion and research the current policies, strategies, action plans and frameworks developed in a range of AFI member institutions.
• Undertake background research and policy analysis for each specific case study country. Present the findings in a 2-page (maximum) summary
• Undertake interviews with the relevant financial regulators and provide an interim report on the key findings whilst the in-depth case studies are under development with additional focus on how the experience of the country best practices can be further enhanced especially during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the ongoing movement restrictions and reduction in global travel there will be no physical interviews, all interviews will be undertaken virtually.
• Prepare seven individual case studies that form an African series. The case studies will be developed as a series and will follow a similar format, whilst allowing for the individual member journeys to be fully captured and explored.

6. Consultant Experience

• 15+ years of professional experience in financial inclusion policies and programs in the African region.
• Previous solid experience working with Central Banks and other financial regulatory entities.
• Solid background providing technical assistance and guidance on financial inclusion for to policymakers focused on youth and women.
• Strong knowledge and understanding of legal and regulatory frameworks related to Digital Finance and MSMEs Finance.

7. Timeline

The consultancy work will begin on the 15th November 2020 and last until 31st March 2021.

8. Reporting

Throughout the contract period, the Consultant will be reporting to AFI’s Head of Gender Inclusive Finance. The contract will be from AFI with the individual consultant (or consulting firm with specific names of the team members) that would be working on the assignment. The consultant is expected to have a technical background on regulatory issues on gender inclusive finance and financial inclusion.

9, Evaluation Criteria

The proposals submitted will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
• Experience of vendor working with financial regulation, gender policy or financial inclusion policies.
• Expertise and experience of the vendor or consultant related to the financial regulation and/or its links to sustainable development.
• The experience of the consultant in undertaking high level interviews in the Africa region and managing multiple activities simultaneously.
• Experience and ability to implement sensitive engagements in a highly diplomatic manner with deference to unique jurisdictional conditions and preferences.
• The ability resource the project to deliver within the tight timeframe
• Submission of one recent (within 12 months) piece of similar written work no more than 5000 words long. To be submitted as a linked attachment.


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