National Womens Financial Inclusion Policy : 2022-2026
The Solomon Islands Government has made great progress towards financial inclusion in recent years and prioritized building of an inclusive financial sector for the sustained economic growth and development of the country. It has, however, acknowledged the persistent gender gap in financial inclusion and therefore committed to accelerate women’s financial inclusion, along with reducing gender inequality and fight violence against women imperative to accelerate women’s economic empowerment.
The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) has been pivotal in advancing financial inclusion of all Solomon Islanders, including women, with the implementation of the first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS 1) in 2011 followed by the second National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS 2) in 2016. The CBSI launched then the third National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS 3) in 2021. The CBSI has successfully initiated digital financial services (DFS) and supported Savings Clubs to facilitate the provision of fast, safe and affordable financial services – especially to women and rural families. This resonates well with female Solomon Islanders given their numerous social and economic challenges.
Under the PIRI initiatives the CBSI has committed to accelerate women’s access and usage of financial services under the financial inclusion space in line with the Denarau Action Plan, with support from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). The Solomon Islands stands out in that matter as it is the first country in the world to have integrated gender specific targets in all its three strategies. Women are a priority segment both in NFIS 2 and NFIS 3 with specific targets of reaching 150,000 active women users of financial services by 2020 and 200,000 by 2025, aligned with the Denarau Action Plan in improving women’s economic empowerment imperative towards achievement of the SDG 5-Gender Equality. The Solomon Islands’ ambition towards advancing women’s financial inclusion, through the leadership and work of the CBSI, can only be achieved through a gender specific policy that addresses the unique challenges and constraints women face.
The National Women’s Financial Inclusion Policy aims at addressing the persistent gender gap in financial inclusion towards meeting the broader objectives of women’s full economic and financial inclusion in the Solomon Islands. The policy vision lays down a solid foundation with the aim “To build an inclusive and sustainable financial system responsive to the diverse needs of all Solomon Islander women”. This Policy is based on four Key Policy Areas (KPA): Increased access to and Sustainable use of financial services, Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection, Savings Clubs and Sex-Disaggregated Data.
To achieve the vision, the following overarching goals are set to be achieved by 2026:
• Increase the number of women active users of financial accounts from 140,861 to
• Reduce the gender gap in formal financial inclusion by 50 percent.
We can already capitalize on major achievements of the Solomon Islands in advancing women’s financial inclusion reached through the strong commitment of stakeholders. These achievements are reflected by the different products and services developed specifically for women through both traditional and digital channels. These products include Savings clubs launched by the MWYCFA that are an integral part of economic empowerment particularly for rural women, and youSave voluntary saving scheme provided by the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF). Development of mobile money products and the introduction of Financial Literacy Programs are also major achievements that pave the way for enhanced women’s financial inclusion. We all endeavor to further strengthen the resilience of women in Solomon Islands by meeting the targets set out in this Policy.
I want to thank and acknowledge the contributions of all the stakeholders in the development of the National Women’s Financial Inclusion Policy. I further extend my appreciation to the Alliance for Financial Inclusion for their financial support and the team at PHB Development for their collaboration in the development of the Policy.
Dr. Luke Forau
Governor, Central Bank of Solomon Islands