Financial Inclusion

Goals

To help develop a point of view on financial inclusion scaling across geographies and propositions by providing an overview of financial inclusion, how is it typically measured, some of the most important financial inclusion products globally by region e.g. MEA, Americas, etc. and by type of product e.g. P2P, banking, micro-credit, etc., how companies and foundations have scaled financial inclusion geographically, what tools and networks they used, 2-3 case studies of countries effectively tackling financial exclusion, and to determine if there are any financial inclusion super apps, that is, one app with multiple financial inclusion needs to be met across the target consumer's journey.

Early Findings

Overview

  • According to the World Bank, Financial Inclusion means that "individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance – delivered responsibly and sustainably."
  • Since 2011, 1.2 billion adults globally "have gotten access to an account," with 69% of adults owning a bank account. However, owning an account is not the same as using it.
  • The aim of financial inclusion according to Ada Microfinance is to "broaden access to affordable and responsible (non-banking) and (non-financial) products and services for populations excluded from the traditional banking system." It refers to "the ability of individuals to access financial products and services to meet their needs."
  • Financial inclusion consists of a "set of measures put in place to combat banking and financial exclusion." It includes several financial products such as microfinance, credit products, pension, savings products, and money transfer; and non-financial products and services such as training, decision support software, advice and technical expertise, and financial education and awareness.
  • The World Bank sees Financial inclusion as a "key enabler to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, and has put forward an ambitious global goal to reach Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020." It is in fact "an enabler for 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals."
  • Access to financial services is important in planning for both long-term goals and emergencies. Owning a transaction account is "a first step toward broader financial inclusion since a transaction account allows people to store money, and send and receive payments."
  • When people own accounts, they are more likely to use "other financial services, such as credit and insurance, to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risk, and weather financial shocks, which can improve the overall quality of their lives."
  • More than 60 countries around the world "have either launched or are developing a national strategy" to improve financial inclusion amongst their citizens. However, "more than half of the world’s adult population" remains unbanked or underbanked.


Measures of Financial Inclusion

  • In 2015, the World Bank developed the most recent set of indicators to measure financial inclusion. These indicators include Access indicators which "reflect the depth of outreach of financial services," Usage indicators which "measure how clients use financial services," and Quality which indicates if "financial products and services match clients’ needs." The fourth indicator assesses and understands "how financial inclusion affects households’ and firms’ outcomes, such as firm-level performance or human capital investments."
  • These indicators will help "diagnose the state of financial inclusion, agree on targets, identify barriers, craft policies, and monitor and measure policy impact."

Proposed next steps:

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