The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Global Policy Forum (GPF) is organized by AFI as the keystone event for its membership. Each year it is co-hosted by a different member institution in a different region of the world. AFI has more than 100 member institutions from more than 89 nations making the GPF the most important and comprehensive forum for regulatory institutions with an interest in promoting financial inclusion policy. The Forum is focused on developing and improving national financial inclusion strategies and policies, and is used as a platform for senior financial regulators to exchange ideas as well as engage in peer-to-peer learning activities.
The AFI Global Policy Forum has been recognized by leading international financial development organizations and individuals as an important part of the global dialogue on financial inclusion. Participation in the GPF has become a part of the standard dialogue from leaders of regulatory institutions and is often used as an example of the positive efforts taking place to solve the problem of the unbanked. For example, at the 6th Annual Microfinance Conference and Entrepreneurship Awards, the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, spoke of his institution's progress, noting the CBN had "...made a commitment at the GPF 2011 held in Mexico to reduce Nigeria's financial exclusion rate from 46.3 to 20 per cent by 2020."
The 2016 GPF was held in Nadi, Fiji, on 7–9 September. The theme was "Building the Pillars of Sustainable Inclusion". The event, which was hosted by the Reserve Bank of Fiji saw the announcement of the Denarau Action Plan: The AFI Network Commitment to Gender and Women's Financial Inclusion. It was the first GPF to be held in the Pacific region.
Over 450 senior financial inclusion policymakers and regulators, along with leaders from international organizations and the private sector, converged in Maputo, Mozambique from 1–4 September for the 7th annual Global Policy Forum. Held under the theme of, “Inspiring Innovation to Advance Inclusion”, is the largest and most diverse forum the AFI Network had ever held. The opening ceremony included a welcome address by the President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, who thanked participants for coming and noted that the presence of so many financial inclusion leaders in the city had “made Maputo the financial capital of the world”.
AFI's 6th Annual Global Policy Forum was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 9–11 September 2014. The forum was held under the theme, “Global Partnerships, National Goals, Empowering People.” A new focus on engagement with non-regulatory organizations was evident during this GPF, most notably through the Network's peer learning approach with the global standard setting bodies (SSBs), and with the introduction of a dialog platform with the private sector. The event also the AFI network reveal its new headquarters location in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2014 GPF Forum report was published in 2015.
The 2013 GPF was held on 10–12 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia under overarching theme of Driving Policies for Optimal Impact. It convened more than 400 senior policymakers, central bank governors, partners from international organizations and private sector leaders. The Opening Ceremony included a speech from the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and a prerecorded video message from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates. The Forum was a platform to debate and examine policy strategies to optimize impacts on development by enhancing the alignment of financial inclusion, financial stability and consumer protection objectives. The 2013 Global Policy Forum report was made public.
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion's (AFI) annual, landmark Global Policy Forum (GPF) was held in Cape Town, South Africa on 26–28 September 2012, under the overall theme of Making Financial Inclusion Real.
The Forum brought together senior representatives from more than 80 developing and emerging nations’ regulatory institutions from across the globe, along with financial inclusion policy experts and practitioners from AFI’s many partner institutions. The agenda covered technical discussions on the quality of financial access and usage and featured a high level debate and dialogue on both the potential and the real impact of financial inclusion on the lives of the world’s unbanked.
During last year's Forum in Mexico the AFI membership adopted the Maya Declaration, the first global and measurable set of commitments by developing and emerging countries to unlock the economic and social potential of the 2.5 billion poorest people through greater financial inclusion. The GPF 2012 highlighted the progress of the 24 AFI member institutions that followed through with concrete commitments to the Maya Declaration over the course of the previous year. Additionally, on the final morning of the three-day Forum in Cape Town, 19 institutions announced new Maya Declaration Commitments to increase the number of institutional financial inclusion commitments to 35 overall — an impressive achievement that marked the one year anniversary of the Declaration's inception. The Forums concluding report was published and made publicly available.
The GPF 2011 was held in Riviera Maya, Mexico and saw the entire membership adopt the ‘Maya Declaration’, a set of common principles and goals for financial inclusion policy. Seventeen of the participating members also made more specific national commitments toward financial inclusion progress under the basic principles of the Maya Declaration. This marked the first time regulators from the developing world had committed to common principles for financial inclusion policy. The institutions making commitments ranged from those representing large diverse populations such as Mexico and Peru, to smaller nations such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Over 300 participants from 80 financial regulatory institutions took part in 2011 GPF, along with representatives from the World Bank, the United Nations, the Gates Foundation and other international organizations.
In his closing remarks, Mexico's President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa stated "...it is so important that we are all gathered here today, public officials, central bank presidents, ministers, secretaries, academics, specialists of over 70 countries, to reflect on the developments and challenges of financial inclusion. It is a key task, since, by opening the doors of credit, savings and insurance to more persons, we are giving more certainty to the present and we are broadening their capacity to build a better future. Financial inclusion is a means to reach greater social justice." At the same ceremony, the United Nations Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance, Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, highlighted that she was inspired to see that GPF participants were at the forefront of innovations in policy, regulation, and supervision, and had now an opportunity to lead developed country banking sectors in this field.
The 2010 GPF was held in Bali, Indonesia, and saw the financial inclusion concept recognized as a more formalized and an integral part of financial regulators' work. In his keynote address the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged the participants to "...Let us make this forum a bridge between our national, regional and global efforts. Let us collaborate and synergize our works to eradicate poverty through financial inclusion. I am convinced that we have just as much to share as we do to learn. We are looking forward to hearing your experiences from Asia, Africa and Latin America so we can be inspired by your ideas and make our own financial system stronger, more inclusive and innovative. Beth Rhyne, the Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion noted after the forum that, "...By bringing together this many policymakers interested in financial inclusion [to the GPF], AFI creates a stronger voice for financial inclusion all around the world. Until now financial regulators have tended to place top priority on financial stability and have often perceived inclusion as a threat to stability. AFI’s work helps to get financial inclusion high on the agenda in a way that it has not been before."
The first GPF was held in Kenya in 2009 and focused primarily on the promotion of the benefits of a knowledge exchange platform of peers. In his opening remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Prof. Njuguna Ndung'u summarized the goal of the Global Policy Forum when he stated, "We will, over the next three days, share experiences on smart financial inclusion policies that have worked elsewhere. We will thereafter adopt these policies to suit our respective countries as we work together to push forward the global financial access frontiers." GPF 2009 was an enormous success and immediately became a unique milestone event for global financial policy regulators. As noted by Dr. Darmin Nasution, Governor of the Bank of Indonesia "...The success of the world’s first-ever Global Policy Forum on financial inclusion in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009, is evidenced by the fact that financial inclusion is increasingly being recognized as a third strategic pillar in financial systems, alongside stability and integrity, by developing country policymakers. Leaders worldwide are recognizing the potential of a more inclusive financial services sector, and the issue is emerging as a priority..."
Participation in the Global Policy Forum is by invitation only. Invited participants to GPF include senior representatives from the following institutions: