CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA–(Marketwire – Sep 28, 2012) – The Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s (AFI) 4th Annual Global Policy Forum (GPF) concluded today in Cape Town, South Africa with both fresh initiatives and new Maya Declaration Commitments being announced. Co-hosted by the South African Treasury, the forum marked the AFI Network’s return to the African continent for the first time since its opening meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009.
The GPF 2012 theme, ‘making financial inclusion real,’ was explored by participants comprised of senior policymakers, central bank governors, partners from international organizations and private sector leaders. Lively discussions and debates on the close connections between financial inclusion policy, the real economy, stability and poverty reduction occurred during the three days of meetings.
The formalization of the African Mobile Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) was realized at the forum, a significant financial inclusion effort launched in Africa.
Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u summarized the logic of focusing on mobile financial services, saying, “… it is a delivery system that has been tested and has been successful across our region… but it is also a system that is constantly changing and expanding. Working together we are uniquely placed to take a leading role in development of MFS innovation.” The assembled delegates of senior African policymakers from the AFI Network adopted the Initiative and agreed to hold the first AMPI meeting in early 2013.
The announcement of 19 additional Maya Declaration Commitments was the highlight of the GPF 2012 final day, bringing the total number of institutional financial inclusion commitments under AFI’s Maya Declaration to 35 — an impressive achievement on the one-year anniversary of the Maya Declaration’s introduction.
New Commitments include: Central Bank of Armenia; Microcredit Regulatory Authority, Bangladesh; Ministry of Social Development, Chile; Ministry of Finance Colombia; Banque Centrale du Congo; Banco Central del Ecuador; Bank of Ghana; Superintendencia de Bancos de Guatemala; Bank Indonesia; Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia; Central Bank of Mozambique; Bank of Namibia Palestine Monetary Authority; Banco Central del Paraguay; Ministry of Economy and Finance Senegal; Central Bank of Solomon Islands; Reserve Bank of Vanuatu; Bank Negara Malaysia; and the South African National Treasury.
“The response from our membership to the Maya Declaration’s call to action has been tremendous,” said Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of AFI. “Taken together, these 35 commitments show the determination of the AFI Network to lead in the development of financial inclusion innovation and improve the lives of the world’s unbanked.”
The GPF 2012 was the largest forum ever held by the AFI Network with more than 360 delegates and partners in attendance. AFI now includes more than 90 policymaking institutions from 84 developing and emerging nations, representing more than 75 percent of the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked population.
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Peter W. Foster