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Emerging Evidence on Financial Inclusion

Research on the impact of financial services on the lives of low-income people provides valuable insights. However, these studies tend to focus on microcredit or a single financial product, such as savings or mobile money. As a result, an overly simplistic and product-focused story has emerged. Recognizing the need for a more nuanced and clearer impact narrative, this Focus Note from CGAP synthesizes evidence since 2014 and highlights three overarching insights:

  1. Financial services improve resilience both by facilitating recovery from shocks and encouraging investments that are riskier but potentially more profitable in the longer term.
  2. Women’s control and ownership of financial services can improve their bargaining power in the household and enable positive outcomes, such as increasing their participation in the labor force.
  3. Emerging evidence suggests that financial inclusion can contribute to increased economic growth and reduced poverty.
CGAP is a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organizations that works to advance the lives of poor people through financial inclusion. Using action-oriented research, we test, learn and share knowledge intended to help build inclusive and responsible financial systems that move people out of poverty, protect their economic gains and advance broader development goals. We research and experiment to achieve proof of concept and extract lessons that can be built to scale by our partners, who apply our insights in the marketplace.

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