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Belarus’ National Bank makes Maya Declaration Commitment

MINSK, 6 May (BelTA) – The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) made Maya Declaration Commitment, BelTA learned from the NBRB information and public relations department.

Maya Declaration is a document of international partnership adopted at the Third AFI Global Policy Forum in Riviera Maya in Mexico on 28-30 September 2011.

“The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) has become the 39th member of the AFI Network to make a Maya Declaration Commitment in pursuit of achieving greater financial inclusion,” the National Bank informed. Thus the country has assumed the obligations to carry out policies to improve financial inclusion aimed at creating a favorable environment for cost-effective access to financial services, allowing the use of innovative technology and significantly reducing the cost of financial services; to enhance the regulatory framework allowing to reach interrelated objectives for improving financial inclusion, financial stability and financial integrity; to create equal opportunities for all people in the financial services sector.

The NBRB outlined a quantifiable commitment to increase the number of adults with bank accounts from its current level of 70% to 85% by 2015.

“The bank will seek to strengthen financial literacy efforts through specific activities set to be implemented under the joint action plan of government agencies and financial market participants on the development of retail bank transfers with the use of modern electronic payment instruments and means in the Republic of Belarus for 2013-2015 and the joint action plan of government agencies and financial market participants on improving financial literacy of the population of the Republic of Belarus for 2013-2018,” the National Bank said.

The National Bank and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion teamed up to conduct two national surveys on the access of the population and small businesses to financial services. Partaking in them were three big research organizations. Survey concept and data evaluation were developed by the Center of Microfinancing for Central, Eastern Europe and the CIS (Poland). The surveys were conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus: the first one (preliminary) involved an estimated 2,500 residents and 1,815 small businesses; the second one (comprehensive) – 8,000 residents of the country. The second survey covered all 118 districts, 12 oblast towns and the city of Minsk. The data was evaluated and analyzed by the R&D Institute of Economies under the Economy Ministry.

The results of the surveys were discussed at numerous seminars and conferences with the participation of a wide range of organizations: ministries, departments, oblast executive committees and the Minsk City Hall, Belpochta, Polesie State University, banks, the Association of Belarusian Banks, R&D institutes, the Belarusian Fund for Financial Support of Entrepreneurs, international organizations, etc. The results of the surveys are recommended for the use by banks with a view to improve banking services for individuals and small businesses. Analysis reports on the abovementioned surveys have been posted on the official website of the National Bank.

“Apart from that, the National Bank in cooperation with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion is working on the state strategy to improve financial inclusion in the Republic of Belarus. Financial inclusion plays an important role in securing prompt development of the financial market, higher employment, economic growth and financial stability,” the National Bank said.