SOURCE: Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Alliance for Financial Inclusion

February 27, 2012 22:08 ET

Africa Bids for Mobile Financial Services Leadership

BANGKOK, THAILAND--(Marketwire - Feb 27, 2012) - Central bank governors and senior regulatory representatives from across Africa will meet in Zanzibar from 1-2 March 2012 in a bid to establish Africa as the global leader in the world's $650 billion mobile financial services sector.

The meeting will not only be the largest-ever regional conference on mobile financial services but also the first major initiative under the Maya Declaration. Endorsed by more than 80 developing and emerging countries in September 2011, the Maya Declaration is a pioneering set of measurable commitments to unlock the economic and social potential of the world's estimated population of 2.5 billion "unbanked" people through greater financial inclusion. Increasing access to financial services through mobile technology is one of the central goals of the Maya Declaration and widely recognized as essential for accelerating employment, economic growth and financial stability.

Approximately 75% of households in Africa have no access to formal financial services. However, the continent is in a strong position to overcome this problem through mobile technology: Africa is now the second biggest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, with more than 350 million subscriptions.

More critically, Africa has a track record of leadership in mobile financial services. In 2011, about half of the 78 mobile money ventures launched around the world came from Africa, spanning more than 20 countries.

The meeting in Zanzibar, which is co-organized by the Bank of Tanzania, the Central Bank of Kenya and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), aims to establish a roadmap for Africa's leadership in mobile financial inclusion, underpinned by measurable commitments. Issues addressed will range from regulatory hurdles to consumer protection -- one of the cornerstones of the Maya Declaration.

Among the officials taking part in the meeting are the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, the Governor of the Bank of Burundi, the Governor of the Central Bank of Guinea, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone, the Governor of the Central Bank of Mozambique, the Governor of the Bank of Angola and senior representatives from regulatory institutions in Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Congo, Ethiopia, Senegal, Namibia, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Liberia, BCEAO, Morocco and Sudan.

Follow the meeting's progress:
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The Alliance for Financial Inclusion is the first global knowledge-sharing network designed exclusively for financial inclusion policymakers from developing countries. For more information, please visit: www.afi-global.org.

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