World Bank's Financial Access for All session highlights Maya Declaration, home-grown solutions
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Network's accomplishments, along with the Maya Declaration, were in the spotlight during the "Financial Access for All" session at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF on 21 April 2013 in Washington D.C. The meeting served as an opportunity to further support of the ongoing paradigm shift toward peer learning and knowledge sharing.
AFI Executive Director Alfred Hannig represented AFI's 104 member institutions from 87 countries on a high-level panel that also featured Deputy Minister of Russia Sergey Storchak, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Director of Financial Services for the Poor Rodger Voorhies and National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) Director General Joy Ntare.
Various highlighted achievements from the AFI Network included:
- 31 countries have initiated financial inclusion policy reforms;
- a growing number of countries have included financial inclusion in their broader financial stability mandate and started to create the internal organizational structures for implementation;
- more than 20 countries are developing national financial inclusion strategies; and
- 38 countries have made specific financial inclusion commitments through the Maya Declaration.
The number of members and the rapid growth of the AFI Network during the past four years reflect the ownership and leadership of developing and emerging countries on financial inclusion issues. Also, the G20 has emphasized financial inclusion in recent years — first through the Financial Inclusion Expert Group, and subsequently by the creation of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI).
"We need home-grown solutions (because) what works for you may not work for me. With ownership comes commitment," said Ntare.
"All of these developments clearly show that financial inclusion is no longer a fringe subject. It is now recognized as an important part of the mainstream thinking on economic development based on country leadership," said Hannig. "Together we have shown the world that financial inclusion matters. That it has a real impact and that it will make a real difference on the lives of the 2.5 billion unbanked."