Central banks around the Pacific region have been at the forefront of driving financial inclusion related policies and initiatives in their respective jurisdictions. Like any other small open economy, the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) recognize the fact that significant parts of their community are underserved in relation to accessible and affordable financial services and products. In 2009, the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) led the process of formulating its first National Financial Inclusion Strategy which was then followed by a number of other central banks within the region. Since then, these countries have taken the necessary steps to realize the goal of having an inclusive financial system.
Six of the seven members of the Pacific Island Regional Initiative (PIRI) have made institutional commitments under the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Maya Declaration. According to Governor Barry Whiteside of the RBF, “Commitments made under the Maya Declaration made us accountable which motivated us to work harder to ensure we met our national target.” Such strong pledges by the central banks affirm the seriousness of an issue that is affecting the most vulnerable in the region while at the same time, acknowledging financial inclusion as a catalyst for improving the livelihoods of the low income households.