Maya Declaration Urges Financial Inclusion for World's Unbanked Populations

Sep 30, 2011, 20:11 ET from Alliance for Financial Inclusion

RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico, Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Central banks and financial regulators from across the developing world today committed to provide their populations with greater access to financial services by signing the Maya Declaration on Financial Inclusion at the conclusion of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion's Global Policy Forum in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Several countries used the forum to announce new initiatives to expand their population's access to financial services. Brazil said it would launch a National Partnership for Financial Inclusion in November. Tanzania pledged to raise its financial access level to 50% of its population by 2015 through mobile banking and other initiatives. Mexico committed to establish banking agents or branches in every municipality in the country by 2014. Nigeria said it would work to reduce its unbanked by 50% by 2020. Malawi will introduce agent banking in 2012. Zambia said it would raise financial inclusion to 50% within two years, while Rwanda set a target of 80% by 2017. Peru pledged to enact a new law regulating electronic money within the next year.

Other countries making commitments included Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Pakistan, Fiji and the Philippines.

Alfred Hannig, AFI executive director, said: "Today countries across the developing world took important steps to create home-grown policies and launch initiatives to reduce one of the most significant barriers to global economic growth. The result could be to empower hundreds of millions of people to join the formal financial sector in the years ahead."

An estimated 2.5 billion people – over half the world's adult population – do not have access to formal financial services, which can include banking, savings, insurance, credit or pensions. The Maya Declaration recognizes the important role financial inclusion policy has toward improving global financial stability, fighting poverty and contributing to balanced and sustainable growth across the developing world. The declaration commits countries to create and implement regulatory frameworks that balance inclusion, stability and integrity.

About AFI (Alliance for Financial Inclusion)

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion is the first global knowledge-sharing network designed exclusively for financial inclusion policymakers from developing countries. AFI members are central banks and other financial regulatory institutions from 77 countries around the world, where the majority of the world's unbanked reside. The network enables its members to share their knowledge as well as develop and implement financial inclusion policies that work. For more information, please visit:

SOURCE Alliance for Financial Inclusion