WASHINGTON, DC, March 29, 2022 — The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced today the transition of the Responsible Finance Forum (RFF) convening role from IFC to CFI. The agreement to transfer RFF from IFC to CFI was signed on March 9, 2022.

RFF was created in 2009, under the leadership of IFC and other key stakeholders in the financial inclusion community to foster dialogue and collaboration among the private sector, governments, policymakers, academics, and consumer organizations. The RFF annual event provided an opportunity for a diverse set of stakeholders to share emerging insights and solutions and collaborate on initiatives to ensure responsible finance remained at the core of efforts to advance inclusive finance.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization, and climate change, among other global forces, are rapidly changing the inclusive finance landscape. Based on feedback received from past, present, and future RFF stakeholders, CFI is reimagining RFF and expanding its role to tackle rapidly evolving risks faced by financial systems and low-income people. RFF will provide an agile and forward-thinking space for a wide range of inclusive finance stakeholders to share knowledge, conduct research, and engage in global dialogue to improve risk identification and mitigation.

“CFI has always been a leader in customer protection. Today, customer protection risks are not just about what happens at the business model level, but also about what happens at the market level,” said Mayada El-Zoghbi, Managing Director of CFI. “These dynamic risks and the vast range of challenges they pose for low-income customers means that we must work collaboratively. The reimagined RFF will help tackle key questions and gaps to better protect low-income and vulnerable populations.”

The complexity of the inclusive finance landscape demands an approach that can facilitate analysis and action at a rapid pace. Moving forward, RFF will expand to serve as a platform with three core functions: aggregate research across the sector and help identify emerging issues that will impact low-income customers; expand a network of partnerships that will leverage each partner’s strengths to build sectoral knowledge; and collaborate through regular convenings with the annual event as a crucial cornerstone.

“We recognize the need for the private sector, investors, and donor organizations to work together to drive critical conversations around inclusive finance risks,” said  Sharmila Hardi, a Senior Manager at IFC’s Financial Institutions Group, who leads IFC’s investments and advisory services for Microfinance, SME Banking, Gender Finance and Insurance. “As an independent think tank, CFI is uniquely positioned to serve as a neutral broker to facilitate collaboration across a diverse set of stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing to work together on these crucial topics.”

To ensure independence and a structure that encourages widespread participation from across the sector, RFF will have two levels of governance—one comprising sponsors with fiduciary responsibilities and the second comprising partners who lead thinking on responsible finance and customer protection and will assist with identifying strategic priorities and areas of focus.

“RFF presents a unique opportunity for emerging markets and developed countries to learn from one another,” said Michael Schlein, CEO of Accion. “We are thrilled that CFI will be taking on RFF and look forward to the opportunity to elevate RFF as an agile, forward-thinking platform on customer protection.”

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Please direct media inquiries to:

Lauren Braniff, CFI – lbraniff@accion.org

Henry Pulizzi, IFC – hpulizzi@ifc.org


The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) works to advance inclusive financial services for the billions of people who currently lack the financial tools needed to improve their lives and prosper. We leverage partnerships to conduct rigorous research and test promising solutions, and then advocate for evidence-based change. CFI was founded by Accion in 2008 to serve as an independent think tank on inclusive finance.


IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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