KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Sept. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - The Alliance for Financial Inclusion's (AFI) 5th Annual Global Policy Forum (GPF) came to a close in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where after three productive days of meetings the AFI Network solidified and defined its decision to become an independent international organization with the call for members to officially bid to host the Network's permanent home. Co-hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Forum was a platform for AFI's 108 member institutions to debate and examine policy strategies to optimize impacts on development by enhancing the alignment of financial inclusion, financial stability and consumer protection objectives. The last day of the AFI GPF featured the announcement of new Maya Declaration Commitments and the release of the Sasana Accord.
Under the overarching theme "Driving Policies for Optimal Impact", the 2013 GPF convened more than 400 senior policymakers, central bank governors, partners from international organizations and private sector leaders. The Opening Ceremony included a speech from the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and a prerecorded video message from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates.
"(AFI is) on the cusp of another breakthrough innovation - including the poorest in a financial system that increases instead of limiting the value of their assets," said Mr. Gates. "In just over four years, AFI has already become the leader in this field. And now (it is) taking the next step of becoming an independent, member-owned organization. By continuing to be bold, (AFI) will add financial inclusion to a long and growing list of innovations that revolutionize life for the poor."
The highlight of the final afternoon was the announcement of additional Maya Declaration Commitments, bringing the number of institutional financial inclusion commitments under AFI's Maya Declaration to 45 overall. Maya Declaration Commitments were announced by: National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador and Superintendencia del Sistema Financiero de El Salvador, Banque de la République d'Haiti, Central Bank of Liberia, Bank Al-Maghrib Morocco, Nepal Rastra Bank, Superintendencia de Bancos de Panamá, Bank of Papua New Guinea, Central Bank of Samoa, Bank of Sierra Leone and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.
AFI members also announced the Sasana Accord, which aims to strengthen the effectiveness of their Maya Declaration Commitments. Through the Sasana Accord, financial inclusion policymaking and strategies will focus on evidence and data-based results to accelerate progress and clearly measure the impact of financial inclusion policies.
"This is a very welcome articulation of the priority that countries are placing on achieving financial inclusion and on setting targets," said H.M. Queen Máxima. "I urge you to aim high as you set your national goals and targets. For me, it is clear that our overall aspiration should be nothing less than universal access. Every person, every business in every country deserves this opportunity."
"Access to simple financial progress can make a real difference to people's lives, and because of that financial inclusion has entered the mainstream thinking on economic and financial policy," said Alfred Hannig, AFI Executive Director. "The vision of universal access is achievable in the foreseeable future. AFI members are building momentum for global change."
The 2013 GPF was the largest Forum ever held by the AFI Network, with more than 400 delegates and partners from around the world. The next AFI Global Policy Forum will be co-hosted by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago in September 2014.
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion and its member institutions are focused on developing smart policy solutions and highlighting the financial inclusion accomplishments that can be achieved when regulatory institutions from developing and emerging countries come together as equals, and come away with policies that are right for their specific needs and circumstances. Through focused working groups, regional conferences and the annual Global Policy Forum, AFI has become the largest and most comprehensive network of financial inclusion policymakers in the world. For more information about the work of the Alliance, visit: http://www.afi-global.org.
SOURCE: The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)
For further information:
Peter W. Foster - [email protected]
Katie Sunderland - [email protected]