Jan 10, Colombo: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group has partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to develop the country's first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) to promote a more effective and efficient process to improve financial inclusion across Sri Lanka.
IFC, over the course of the project, will provide technical assistance to Central Bank to develop the NFIS, through an extensive development process involving consultations with members of the public & private sector, civil society organizations, and academia.
The process provides an important opportunity to introduce an evidence-based, prioritized, better resourced, and more comprehensive approach to expanding access to financial services.
"CBSL has identified the need to develop a strategy for Financial Inclusion at the national level to achieve sustainable development and create a conducive financial environment to bring under-served segments of society to the formal financial sector," Governor of Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.
"It will provide guidance on the directions for the country to achieve an inclusive financial system where people have effective access to a range of affordable financial services."
The development of the strategy will be led by Central Bank with the support of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry, IFC and all financial sector stakeholders.
"Financial inclusion is a priority for the World Bank Group for achieving universal financial access by 2020," said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives.
"This National Financial Inclusion Strategy will not only improve access to, and usage of, financial services, but will also contribute to overall inclusive growth in Sri Lanka."
By embarking on the development of this strategy, Sri Lanka is moving towards joining more than 30 countries that have launched similar strategies.
Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. IFC's committed portfolio in Sri Lanka covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities.