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Who we are

The FSD Network is a family of Financial Sector Deepening programmes seeking to build diverse and inclusive financial systems across Africa that enhance the financial resilience and sustainable livelihoods for all and enable inclusive growth. We believe that financial systems have the potential to play a major role in enabling inclusive growth and ensuring access to basic services while assuring a sustainable future for low-income people. Guided by the imperatives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the FSD Network seeks to mould sustainable financial systems, enabling them to work more inclusively across Africa. We are deeply committed to equity between men and women and supporting the vulnerable and marginalised.

We affirm the power of financial systems to shape patterns of growth and to enhance the financial resilience of households; but we acknowledge that, left to its own devices, the financial sector may achieve neither inclusive growth nor stronger households. As a Network, we collaborate to achieve real sector impact in ways which help to deliver on the SDGs in each of our countries.

We see a better financial system as an enabler, not as an outcome; consequently, we do not measure outcomes of our work in financial system terms alone. Equally, we believe that technology can be used to solve real world problems but should not be an end in itself. Rather, we acknowledge the value of applying market systems thinking to identify the points of leverage leading to systemic change which benefits the real economy and households, especially the poor, vulnerable and and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). In this process, we see our main role as facilitators, not direct providers of financial services.

We come from a diverse group of African countries with different starting levels of financial development, and different national priorities and approaches to development. This means that we apply a flexible approach to determining our priorities and to sequencing our programmes in each of our countries in order to take advantage of opportunities for leverage as they arise.



We believe a comprehensive, integrated approach to financial market development in Africa is required to realise the continent’s significant economic potential and address the SDGs. This requires innovative programming to build financial systems able to address the needs of low-income individuals, businesses of all sizes and kinds, and governments. It involves working across multiple levels of the financial system – from informal community-based savings groups to capital markets – to deepen the impact of finance in solving real world problems.

Building on the success of almost two decades of programming by FSDs and their partners, which has helped increase access to finance across sub-Saharan Africa, the Network’s collaborative approach represents the next phase of efforts to build inclusive finance. The core effort is to address the interactions between finance and the real sector, to enable more inclusive and sustainable growth of economies and societies, while leveraging network-wide learnings.

The FSD Network priorities are to:

Identify, demonstrate, and scale

new ways to enhance inclusive growth through more effective financing of investment, risk management and business support

new and/or improved financial solutions for the livelihood needs of poor and marginalised households with a strong focus on improving gender equity and youth economic participation
the development of core financial system infrastructure across national markets and at a regional level to support innovation

the emergence of better regulatory frameworks to underpin impact, stability, and competition


the integrity of financial systems across the continent by developing regulatory frameworks for identifying and controlling illicit flows

Each member of the Network is substantially independent, with its own governance structure responding to local needs and priorities. FSDs create their own programmes and engagements in response to the specific markets of their geographic areas of operation. The FSD Network is governed by a Council made up of the leaders of all members. The Council decides on major directions and creates the opportunity for members to engage in areas of common interest. The Council is currently chaired by Tamara Cook from FSD Kenya and Jean Bosco Iyacu of Access to Finance Rwanda.

Recognising the common challenges across markets on the continent, FSD Network members have undertaken to work collaboratively to address these more effectively. We are committed to finding strength in our cross-country diversity by sharing our experiences, skills and resources as appropriate and collaborating actively on programmes within areas which are relevant to achieving national priorities.


How we work