RESERVE BANK OF FIJI WINS AWARD AT THE 2013 ALLIANCE FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION (AFI) GLOBAL POLICY FORUM

Caption: (left to right) ?Fiji delegation comprising of Eliki Boletawa, Neumi Usumaki, Caroline Pickering, Jeff Liew, Robin Yarrow, Barry Whiteside, Esala Masitabua, Filimone Waqabaca, and Vereimi Levula.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) won the ?Maya Declaration Award? in Kuala Lumpur on 10 September 2013 ahead of the 5th Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Global Policy Forum. The nominees for the award included the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Central Bank of Nigeria.

Hosted by the Bank Negara Malaysia, the Forum has become the world?s most important event on financial inclusion and this year?s theme is “Driving policies for optimal impact”. AFI is a global network of 108 members representing 89 countries of financial policymakers mostly who are central banks from developing and emerging countries working together to increase access to appropriate financial services for the poor. AFI?s unique peer-to-peer learning model encourages and enables financial policymakers to interact and exchange knowledge. (www.afi-global.org)

The Maya Declaration is the first global and measurable set of commitments by members of the AFI from developing and emerging countries to unlock the economic and social potential of the 2.5 billion ?unbanked? people through greater financial inclusion. The RBF was one of the first 17 countries that made its commitment in Riviera Maya, Mexico in 2011. (www.mayadeclaration.org)

The award was based on the ?Institution that has set clear and measurable targets, put in concerted efforts to measure progress, and regularly reported on progress since time of commitment.? A measurable commitment by the RBF, under the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce was to provide access to financial services for 150,000 unbanked people by 2014; which by March 2013 had already reached 85 percent of its goal.

Five countries in the Pacific region have committed to the Maya Declaration – Central Bank of Solomon Islands, Central Bank of Samoa, Bank of Papua New Guinea, RBF and Reserve Bank of Vanuatu. The RBF is part of four working groups under AFI and these include the Pacific Islands Financial Inclusion Working Group, SME Finance Working Group, Financial Integrity Working Group and the Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group.

The seven member delegation to the 5th AFI Global Policy Forum is led by the Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Barry Whiteside and includes Permanent Secretary for Finance Filimone Waqabaca and Board Member & Chair of the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce Robin Yarrow as well as senior officials from the RBF. In receiving the award, Governor Whiteside said that the progress of financial inclusion in Fiji is a joint effort with the Fijian Government, private & public sector, donors and civil societies.

He thanked the AFI network for the support provided to RBF and attributed the win to the stakeholders of financial inclusion in Fiji.

The 5th AFI Global Policy Forum keynote address will be delivered by Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General?s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and Honorary Patron for the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.

Reserve Bank of Fiji