Step forward for financial inclusion champion

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The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), set up in 2008 to further the cause of financial inclusion in developing and emerging countries, has completed its transition from a donor supported project into a permanent international organisation.

AFI launched with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), as a project to explore the potential of smart financial inclusion policy in more than 90 countries where the population is largely unbanked.

“This is an historic moment for our network and for financial inclusion,” said Alfred Hannig, AFI’s executive director. “Establishing AFI as an independent, member-owned organisation is a clear recognition of the value of our peer-to-peer [P2P] learning approach and of the positive impact our members are making on the lives of the world’s unbanked.”

In 2011, AFI introduced the Maya Declaration, a common statement of principles backed by specific commitments for national action. The initiative drove AFI’s growing membership toward ever more ambitious financial inclusion targets, and demonstrated the power of country-led commitment processes.

The network kicked off its independence process in 2014, when Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) was selected to bring AFI to the Sasana Kijang complex in Kuala Lumpur. AFI members focused on creating and finalising governance structures and systems to ensure the organisation could begin its independence on solid footing, with the final steps of this process completed this week.

“AFI is about to begin new chapter at a time when financial inclusion has become recognised as one of the greatest global drivers of development policy,” the alliance declared.

“Most recently the 2015 United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the accompanying Addis Ababa action agenda took the unprecedented step of highlighted the key role of financial inclusion in achieving the new goals and highlighted AFI as an ideal partner for this effort.

“Now, as an independent organisation, AFI will be uniquely positioned to take up the challenge and champion the financial inclusion cause on the global stage.

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