Welcome to the Reserve Bank of Fiji’s Public Awareness column. Over the next few weeks we will cover a series of articles on financial inclusion in a lead up to the Reserve Bank of Fiji co-hosting the annual Alliance for Financial Inclusion Global Policy Forum in September. This is the second article in the series.
Many people living in rural areas and the poor in developing countries like Fiji will generally have limited access to financial services, if any at all. For more than a decade this has been an international policy concern, as highlighted during the United Nations September 2005 World Summit. Heads of State and Government recognised the need for building inclusive financial sectors to contribute to economic development and poverty alleviation.
Six years on, the members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a global network of central banks, supervisors and other financial regulatory authorities (of which Fiji is a member) announced a framework of public commitments to bring more of the world’s poor into the formal financial system. These commitments, more commonly known as the Maya Declaration, were launched at the 3rd AFI Global Policy Forum, in Cancun, on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. They were the first set of global measurable commitments by policy makers from developing and emerging countries to improve the economic and social potential of the poor through greater financial inclusion. Fiji was amongst the first 17 countries in 2011 that made commitments to the Maya Declaration to improve access, usage and quality of financial products and services to the then 2.5 billion people in the world that were financially excluded.