Financial Inclusion

Financial crime controls mandated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) can have unintended consequences for financial inclusion. We seek to understand and mitigate these consequences.

Main Image Credit Pexels / Anete Lusina

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the custodian of global anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF) controls. Its framework of 40 Recommendations and its process of Mutual Evaluation Reports aim to curtail illicit finance while also promoting financial inclusion. This project seeks to establish how FATF has affected financial inclusion, highlighting where the Task Force has frustrated, and where it has facilitated the process.

Acknowledging that digital tools have played a transformational role in accelerating financial inclusion, our project places a special emphasis on understanding the role that digital financial services play in banking for disadvantaged groups such as women and rural populations. The outcomes of this project are aimed at international standard-setters, national policymakers and compliance professionals who implement the FATF framework.

Main Image Credit Pexels / Anete Lusina

Aims and objectives

This project aims to better understand how the FATF framework has affected financial inclusion, and suggests ways in which any negative impact can be rectified. It does so by examining the following research questions:

  • How have the different elements of the FATF framework interacted with financial inclusion objectives?
  • How is financial inclusion perceived and prioritised by assessed countries throughout the Mutual Evaluation Reports process?
  • How compatible is the FATF system with digital tools for financial inclusion?


To explore these questions, the project team conducted extensive interviews throughout 2020. The interviews involved stakeholders from international organisations, national policymakers, private sector organisations, NGOs and academics. The project team also conducted three case studies in Tanzania, Pakistan and Indonesia.

In 2021, the project team will publish two papers. The first will detail the findings of its research, looking specifically at what the impact of FATF has been on the digital financial inclusion of disadvantaged groups. The second will look to the future to suggest how FATF can carve out a new, more positive interaction with financial inclusion objectives.

Project sponsor

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

    This project is supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Find out more

Project outputs

Access key publications produced as part of this project.

Walk the Talk: How the Financial Action Task Force Can Prioritise Financial Inclusion
Assessing the Financial Action Task Force’s Impact on Digital Financial Inclusion
Doing What is Right: Financial Inclusion Needs Better Incentives
clock5 Minute Read
View onlinechevron-right
Coronavirus: Financial Inclusion Considerations for Risk-Based Supervision and the Virus’s Impact on the Risk-Based Approach

Explore related projects

Policy-Compliance Link: The RUSI-ACAMS Partnership

Financial Crime 2.0

UK Economic Crime Plan