Developing World Officials Meet To Advance Financial Inclusion for the Poor

Sep 26, 2011, 18:26 ET from Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Participants include countries which have successfully increased access to financial services

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Central bank governors, finance ministers and financial regulators from 80 developing countries will meet this week to set goals for expanding financial services to their populations. The Global Policy Forum, organized by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and the governments of Mexico and Peru, will be held on September 28-30 in Riviera Maya in Mexico.

An estimated 2.5 billion people – nearly half of the world's adult population – do not have access to formal financial services. Two years ago, AFI was established to help developing markets create new institutions and technologies that will bring the world's unbanked into formal savings, banking and credit systems.

"The most successful solutions to increase access to financial services for the poor have been created in developing countries. We believe that peer learning, mutual exchanges, and replicating successful policy innovations play a fundamental role in expanding financial inclusion," said Alfred Hannig, AFI's executive director. "Policymakers want to better understand the risks and opportunities associated with mobile banking, agent banking, microsavings, consumer protection, state banking reform, and financial identity systems. They can then adapt the best systems and technologies for their local markets."

Policies already created and implemented in several countries have demonstrated success in increasing access to financial services for the poor. Professor Njuguna Ndung'u, Governor of Kenya's Central Bank, cited his own country as an example: "Kenya established an innovative financial service called M-PESA mobile. Since its launch in 2008, it has attracted nearly 14 million registered customers who were not previously banked, out of the country's total population of 39 million. It is helping small merchants and smallholder farmers to pay bills and buy and sell goods and services."

Other countries which have implemented successful financial inclusion programs in recent years include Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Uganda, South Africa, India, Thailand, Mongolia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

At the Rivera Maya forum, participants will discuss strategies and initiatives to expand financial services and bring more of their populations into the formal financial sector. "Now is the time to advance policies that promote a more inclusive, stable and accessible financial system, so that financial markets work for everyone," said Mr. Hannig.  President Felipe Calderon of Mexico will deliver a keynote address to the forum.

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's 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