Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Achieves Full Independence

History was made on 27 January 2016, as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) completed the final steps of its transition from a donor supported project into a permanent international organization.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — History was made on 27 January 2016, as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) completed the final steps of its transition from a donor supported project into a permanent international organization. 

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

AFI was established in 2008 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 developing and emerging countries. Using a peer-to-peer or ‘polylateral’ approach, AFI focused on country-led initiatives and looked connect the ideas and experiences from policymaking institutions, encourage innovation and help to accelerate the adoption of policies that were making a positive impact. The AFI network grew rapidly with both the subject matter and the approach finding support from central banks and regulatory institutions across the globe.

In 2011, AFI introduced the Maya Declaration, a common statement of principles backed by specific commitments for national action. The Maya initiative served to drive AFI’s expanding 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 then focused on creating and finalizing governance structures and systems that would ensure the organization 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 recognized as one of the greatest global drivers of development policy. 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 organization, AFI will be uniquely positioned to take up the challenge and champion the financial inclusion cause on the global stage. 

AFI has gone through many changes over its history, but its core philosophy and the policy leadership and influence of its members remain. Together, with its partners from across the development landscape, AFI will continue to work tirelessly toward bringing smart policies to life.

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is a global peer-learning network of over 100 policymaking and regulatory institutions from more than 90 developing and emerging countries working together to advance financial inclusion policy. AFI members represent over 85 percent of the more than two billion unbanked people, most of whom live in poverty. Follow us: Web:, Twitter @NewsAFI, AFI Blog: