10 April 2022

Explainer Maya Declaration: A-Decade Long Journey

What is the Maya Declaration?

The Maya Declaration is the first global and measurable set of commitments made by developing countries to increase financial inclusion. The first set of Maya Declaration Commitments was signed at the 2011 AFI Global Policy Forum. A decade later, the platform has grown with institutional commitments by 73 countries represented by 82 institutions collectively setting nearly 900 concrete financial inclusion targets. The AFI members who have made commitments represent the majority of the world’s unbanked.

Core Values of the Maya Declaration

The Maya Declaration is underpinned by three fundamental core values that have sustained the impact of the platform until today.

  1. Self-Determination: In recognition of the fact that each country’s circumstances are different and there is no off-the-shelf or straightforward solution each institution sets its targets.
  2. Peer-To-Peer Knowledge Exchange: Leveraging the practical knowledge of innovative policy solutions within the AFI network to expedite addressing challenges in financial inclusion through mutual sharing and collaboration.
  3. International Cooperation: Establishing effective knowledge partnerships with policymakers and regulators from developed countries, multilateral corporations, research institutions, private sector and contributors to address the global challenge of enhancing inclusive finance.

What has been achieved over the past decade?

Ten years ago, 2.5 billion people did not have access to formal financial services. Since then, approximately 800 million people have gained access to financial services, decreasing the unbanked population to 1.7 billion people. The Maya Declaration has been part of this inclusion journey, with 81 percent of AFI members having made commitments and over 42 percent of the targets achieved. AFI members make new commitments every year as the financial inclusion agenda continues to evolve.

New thematic areas have been added through AFI Accords to complement the Maya Declaration. These Accords galvanize AFI members around priority policy areas, such as reducing the gender gap in financial inclusion, inclusive green finance, harnessing technology to achieve financial inclusion goals, and financial inclusion of disadvantaged groups. For example, since the launch of the Denarau Action Plan in 2016, the number of Maya Declaration targets on gender inclusive finance (GIF) increased considerably – currently, 41 central banks and regulatory institutions have at least one GIF target. The adoption of the Sharm El Sheikh Accord in 2017 was a pivotal moment to establish inclusive green finance (IGF) as an emerging policy area in the network. There are now 10 Maya Declaration Commitments with 12 IGF targets, one of which has already been completed and all others are in progress.

What’s new in 2021?

AFI members continued to make new commitments and report progress on existing targets even amid the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Banco Nacional De Angola, Central Bank of Eswatini, and Superintendencia de Bancos de la República Dominicana made commitments. This brought the total number of countries and AFI member institutions with MDCs to 73 and 82 respectively.

Majority of AFI members have completed their targets related to digital financial services (DFS). For example, the Reserve Bank of Fiji met its target to increase government digital payments from 75% to 90% by 2020. Interestingly, 92% of government payments have been made through the digital platform between 1 August 2019 and 31 March 2020. The Bank Al-Maghrib shares the same success story because it enabled a framework that supported legal and regulatory level for about 40 FinTechs in Morocco. The Bank of Zambia has also increased the penetration of agency banking and active mobile money agents in all the districts by enabling a regulatory environment and the use of interest earned on mobile money trust accounts.

Maya Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

By publicly committing to the Maya Declaration, members are championing financial inclusion and contributing to the SDGs, including goal 1: no poverty, goal 5: gender equality, goal 8:  decent work and economic growth, goal 13: climate action, goal 17: partnership for goals.

The five AFI Accords and a Statement under the Maya Declaration complement a number of SDGs. These are the Sasana Accord on evidence-based financial inclusion, Maputo Accord on financing for small and medium enterprises, Denarau Action Plan on gender and women’s financial inclusion, Sharm El Sheikh Accord on financial inclusion, climate change and green finance, and Sochi Accord on FinTech for financial inclusion, and Kigali Statement on accelerating financial inclusion for disadvantaged groups.

Read the latest Maya Declaration Progress Report (2021) here.


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