COVID-19 | Official online Resource and News Portal. For more information, visit

Hidden constraints to digital financial inclusion: the oral-literate divide

This paper looks at the role of literacy in financial inclusion. The vision that digital finance can achieve universal financial inclusion is premised on the rarely questioned assumption that the world is rapidly moving towards universal literacy and numeracy. In fact, text and arithmetic notation shape the relationship between formal finance and about a billion of the world’s poorest adults. This “oral” population, stranded outside the reach of formal employment, have neither the capabilities nor the incentives to engage in digital finance as it is currently being offered. Empirical observation of the actual capabilities and incentives of oral adults can offer transformative solutions for mobile wallet providers, NGO projects, designers and governments.

Sarah Corley
Sarah is DFI's Community & Professional Development Manager, and is responsible for providing opportunities for capacity building of DFS professionals and DFI alumni outside of our online course provision. She has over 19 years of experience within the learning and capacity development within the development and health sector, and is passionate about being a catalyst for change.

Leave a Reply