Digital Frontiers

Financial Inclusion

ARTICLES

G20/OECD INFE Policy Guidance on Digitalisation and Financial Literacy

The digitalisation of financial products and services, and the consequent need to strengthen digital financial literacy has become an important component of the global policy-making agenda. This guidance aims to identify and promote effective initiatives that enhance digital and financial literacy in light of the unique characteristics, advantages, and risks of digital financial services and…

G20 Fukuoka Policy Priorities on Aging and Financial Inclusion

Aging is a global phenomenon. The number, and the proportion as a share of the population, of older people are both growing rapidly in many developed and developing countries. Other countries will experience such growth in years to come.  The United Nations predicts that, by 2050, there will be over two billion people aged 60 and…

G20 High-Level Policy Guidelines on Digital Financial Inclusion for Youth, Women and SMEs

The G20 High-Level Policy Guidelines on Digital Financial Inclusion for Youth, Women and SMEs (HLPGs) provides sets of featured policy options targeting financial inclusion gaps for youth (subject to child protection frameworks where relevant), women and SMEs through digital financial services in order to reach conditions in which all people can live, work and thrive;…

Policy Model for National Financial Inclusion Strategy

The AFI Member network’s knowledge and experience in developing, implementing, and revising National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) have had a significant impact on advancing financial inclusion. In general, NFIS have created enabling environments and the awareness for the deployment of strategic measures driving financial inclusion initiatives with the aim of achieving the specific financial inclusion goals as…

Why the Economic Response to COVID-19 Needs to be Financially Inclusive and Gender Sensitive

The Special Report highlights key gender-related issues facing society during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the specific gender-sensitive financial inclusion responses that policymakers can undertake to ensure their mitigation and recovery activities are fully inclusive and work towards the network’s commitments in the Denarau Action Plan Gender is a cross-cutting theme in all aspects…

Igniting SDG Progress Through Digital Financial Inclusion

How can this digital revolution help us reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals more quickly? One important answer is through digital financial inclusion. Inclusive digital financial services refer to mobile money, online accounts, electronic payments, insurance and credit, combinations of them and newer fintech apps, that reach people who were formerly excluded. Digital financial inclusion,…

Financial Inclusion Compass

The Financial Inclusion Compass was launched by European Microfinance Platform in 2018. The publication is based on a sector-wide mixed-methodology survey of various stakeholders, giving the chance for practitioners, investors, donors, academics and support service providers, among others to present their thoughts on the trends, future areas of focus, challenges and opportunities for inclusive finance…

Delivering on the Potential of Digitized G2P: Driving Women’s Financial Inclusion and Empowerment Through Indonesia’s Program Keluarga Harapan

Financial institutions and governments have been working for years to leverage digitized G2P for women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment. COVID-19 has increased the stakes, as governments look to use G2P programs to strengthen women’s resilience. New research from Women’s World Banking offers insights on Indonesia’s PKH program, the country’s largest conditional cash transfer.

How the Development Sector is Channeling Money to Digital Financial Services

Development funders are increasingly embracing the potential of digital financial services (DFS) to promote financial inclusion. As these funders – bilaterals, multilaterals, development finance institutions and private foundations – continue to look for ways to respond to emerging crises and opportunities, the support for digital finance and the ecosystem around it is increasing in prominence.…

Advancing the Digital Financial Inclusion of Youth

The focus on youth reflects the fact that almost half of the world’s 1.2bn young people aged between 15-24 remain unbanked. This report examines the factors that contribute to youth financial inclusion and the role of digital financial services in meeting young people’s financial needs. It then explores opportunities and challenges relating to advancing youth…

Payment aspects of Financial Inclusion

The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and the World Bank Group have issued the final report on Payment aspects of financial inclusion. This builds on an earlier version of the report that underwent public consultation in late 2015 and seeks to tackle barriers to the adoption and usage of transaction accounts, which sit at the…

The Long-Term Effectiveness of Financial Education Classroom Workshops in Rural Areas the Case of Armenia

Financial literacy is becoming more important, prompting public authorities, international organizations and the private sector to implement a variety of financial education programs. This case study features Armenia’s experience with classroom-based financial education workshops and the Central Bank of Armenia’s (CBA) efforts to measure the effectiveness of these workshops on financial inclusion and financial behavior.

Testing “Lenga” a New Financial Education Kit in Tanzania

For the past three years in Tanzania, UNCDF and its partners have been developing and delivering financial education through a wide range of mechanisms, such as SMS (Arifu), tablet-based apps (Jijenge), videos (Noa Ubongo, Shamba Shape-Up), campaigns (Saving is Love), in-person trainings, and using savings groups as inclusive and supportive platforms for learning. This year, UNCDF…

Measuring Financial Health: What Policymakers Need to Know

Citizens, politicians and policymakers know that effectively managing one’s financial resources – being financially healthy – is central to the success of both individuals and broad populations. If financial health is to be a useful construct, it is important to be clear about what it means, how it is measured, and how it can be…

Financially Underserved Kenyans and Their Market Potential: A segmentation Study

This segmentation study identifies Kenyans whose financial needs are not adequately met by the solutions available in the financial market, as well as the untapped opportunities they offer to financial service providers. The study was conducted by FSD Kenya and CGAP using data from FinAccess 2019. Over the past two decades, Kenya has made significant…

Digital Financial Services in Nigeria

In 2016, the initial hypotheses was that: 1) financial services providers (FSPs) addressing financial inclusion had little understanding of the customers they were serving; 2) FSPs could learn distribution solutions from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies that seemed to be able to reach all parts of Nigeria; 3) the operating business models, resources and…

Financial Inclusion Compass 2019

This is the second Compass survey. The 2018 edition started with a blank page – and was well received. The paper that came out of that survey touched on many of these issues: where does the obligation to protect clients start and end; what response is due to sector entrants that threaten incumbents and lack…

Annual Report – UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development

This annual report looks back at the last ten years of the UNSGSA and the progress made within inclusive finance. It highlights the journey of change featuring specific sections on Jordan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Argentina. It also looks at the road ahead and priorities for the next ten years.

How Digital Finance is Bringing Change to Peoples’ Lives

In 2014, Mastercard Foundation and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) formed a partnership to try to replicate and scale a model that had found success in the Pacific region – taking a market development approach to increasing digital financial inclusion. Through the partnership, UNCDF was able to expand the Mobile Money for the Poor programme (MM4P)…

Agent Networks at the Last Mile

Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy way to switch between the worlds of cash and digital currency. Agent networks that provide this service tend to cluster around urban and peri-urban areas and larger rural towns. However, global evidence shows that emerging agent network…

Impact of Digital Finance on Financial Inclusion and Stability

This article provides a discussion on some issues associated with digital finance – an area which has not been critically addressed in the literature. Digital finance and financial inclusion has several benefits to financial services users, digital finance providers, governments and the economy; notwithstanding, a number of issues still persist which if addressed can make…

UNCDF Global Strategy: Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era

The past two decades have seen a phenomenal change in the adoption of mobile and digital technology in emerging markets. As a result, the sector predicts that the number of unique mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2025, equivalent to 71 percent of the world’s population; yet, a more significant opportunity lies in mobile…

Toward a New Impact Narrative for Financial Inclusion

How do financial services impact the lives of poor people? Though the global development community has debated this question for decades, we seem to be no closer to an answer today than we were when we started. A growing number of rigorous studies meant to clarify the impact debate have instead produced mixed — seemingly…

Financial Inclusion for what?

For Financial Inclusion Week 2019, CFI sought out a small group of financial inclusion thought leaders to comment and take a position on this year’s theme, “Financial Inclusion: For What?” CFI Director of Communications Virginia Moore sat down with Bobbi Gray (Grameen Foundation), Till Bruett (DAI), and Shivani Siroya (Tala) to discuss the theme and…

The end of cash: Why, when and how to flick the switch

Will the 21st century see the rise of a cashless society? The introduction of credit cards, digital wallets and cryptocurrencies have led experts over the past decade to speculate on the progressive demise of physical money, with stakeholders such as banks, consumers and governments seemingly gaining from the change. If the world went cashless tomorrow,…

Building Resilience through Financial Inclusion: A Review of Existing Evidence and Knowledge Gaps

Low-income households around the world are particularly vulnerable to shocks, but also the least prepared when a shock hits. The effects of climate change, including floods, droughts, and other weather-related disasters, are adding another layer of risk for already vulnerable households. In this context, it is increasingly important that poor households build resilience—that they strengthen…

Inching closer to understanding the digital finance impact question

Thee third edition of the Digital Finance Evidence Gap Map (EGM) has been launched by the FiDA Partnership . While the first edition contained 40 studies, two years on the EGM has almost doubled . Each year, as studies amass, we inch closer to understanding the impact of various digital finance products on low-income users. The updated…

A Client Needs-Centred Approach to Financial Inclusion Measurement

Much progress has been made towards measuring the success of financial inclusion. Since the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Financial Inclusion Data (FID) Working Group was created, it has established a core set of financial inclusion indicators to standardize how access and usage of financial services are measured. As well as creating a common framework for measuring and using data to inform policymaking, FID also provides a…

Hidden Constraints to Digital Financial Inclusion: The Oral-Literate Divide

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…

The Goalkeepers Report 2019: Examining inequality and how geography and gender stack the deck for (or against) you

Goalkeepers is the annual report from the Gates Foundation on the world’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 17 ambitious goals the member states of the United Nations committed to reaching by 2030, yet many of these projects are going to miss the targets that were agreed. Inequality due to both geography and gender…

Inclusive Finance? Headline Findings from FinAccess 2019

Kenya aims to become a middle-income country by 2030, delivering a high quality of life to all. Finance plays a central role in the economy, facilitating trade and underpinning the efficient pooling and allocation of resources and risk. From the perspective of the individual, financial tools can contribute directly to better managing household resources, cushioning…

Innovative and Sustainable Data Collection

This blog post from Insight2Impact summarises the potential of using SMS for surveys and further information and ideas are discussed in the accompanying report Innovative and Sustainable Data Collection which describes the results of their pre-pilot of using mobiles for data collection.

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…

The Role of Digital Financial Inclusion in Preparing for Older Age and Retirement

As populations age and birth rates decline in many parts of the world, digital solutions have an important role to play in ensuring financial well-being for older adults. Globally, the number of people aged 60 years or over has more than doubled since 1980, and the share of older adults is projected to double again…

Financial Inclusion Glossary

The purpose of the Financial Inclusion Glossary is to develop shared language about financial inclusion. The Glossary defines terms essential for extending financial services to all who can use them.

Fintechs and Financial Inclusion

Fintechs are innovating at every step of the financial services value chain, often through new value propositions, including flexible products and better ways to address the financial challenges faced by low-income customers. They are making financial services more affordable and accessible. They are improving the customer experience of financial services and accelerating use and engagement.…

Global Outreach and Financial Performance Benchmark Report 2017-2018

The journey of delivering affordable financial services in emerging markets has evolved over the years. Specifically, FY 2017 presented new opportunities to achieve financial inclusion goals while there were also challenges that were overcome. At the end of FY 2017, 762 financial service providers (FSPs) submitted outreach and financial performance data to MIX Market. Year-over-year…

The Role of Digital Finance in Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals

UNCDF and BFA have developed ideas behind measuring the impact of digital finance beyond just looking at account ownership to include impact on other SDGs. An example being pay as you go solar lighting, which can impact on education and ending poverty by allowing children to study and adults to work in the evenings. The focus…

10 reasons to be optimistic that full financial inclusion is possible through digital payments

The past decade has seen great strides in building awareness of the global financial inclusion agenda, and very positive steps in achieving tangible change. The latest Global Findex data revealed that 69 percent of adults – 3.8 billion people – now have a bank account. This is up from 62 percent in 2014 and just 51 percent…

How Mobile Money Agents Can Expand Financial Inclusion

Boston Consulting Group have put together an interesting article outlining how agent networks have made an impact on financial inclusion, and they make three key recommendations for action including: identifying viable markets for expansion, drive expansion to the frontier and be innovative. Read more here

Acquisition and Engagement Strategies to Reach Women with Digital Financial Services

Women’s World Banking and Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA), have partnered since 2014 to build the capacity of leading financial institutions in Nigeria, Tanzania and Malawi focusing on how women, particularly those with a low income, and financial products to meet their needs. This report outlines lessons learnt from youth and adult savings, digital credit,…

The evolution of agent networks in Africa

Agent networks are seen as being key for facilitating cash-in and cash-out (CICO), particularly in rural areas, yet are difficult to establish and expensive to maintain. This case study in Kenya conducted by Cenfri, looks at how agent networks evolve using geospacial data. This study explores three core questions and gives some short to long-term recommendations: What…

Poverty Estimation with Satellite Imagery at Neighborhood Levels

Relying on traditional household surveys for poverty data is time consuming and expensive. What’s more, by the time the data are collected and analyzed, it is often out of date. But there are alternatives for estimating and mapping poverty with the goal of accelerating and expanding financial inclusion and helping DFS providers target the poorest. Machine learning algorithms can, for example, be…

Digital Commerce and Youth Employment in Africa

BFA, the consulting firm Chaired by DFI’s Co-Founder, David Porteous, were commissioned by the Mastercard Foundation to research how digital commerce affects employment, particularly of young people. Using a scenario lens, up to 80 million young people will benefit from the rise of digital commerce in Africa by 2030. The paper discusses the choices and…

Report on Financial Inclusion Development in China 2018

CAFI, a Chinese think tank at Renmin University, publishes an annual review of financial inclusion in China. This is the first one translated into English, and covers digital technology, payments, insurance, wealth and credit, as well as regulation. Download the report here.

Impact of digital finance on financial inclusion and stability

This article provides a discussion on some issues associated with digital finance – an area which has not been critically addressed in the literature. Digital finance and financial inclusion has several benefits to financial services users, digital finance providers, governments and the economy; notwithstanding, a number of issues still persist which if addressed can make…

Digital Access – The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africa

IFC launched Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion, a report which captures the knowledge and experienced gained working to develop and promote commercially sustainable solutions for greater financial inclusion across Sub-Saharan Africa. It includes case studies, research highlights, market overviews, interviews with industry practitioners, impact stories, as well as our insights and ideas for the future.

Navigating the Next Wave of Blended Finance for Financial Inclusion

This brief by CCAP looks at how to attract private investors to close the estimated $2.5 trillion annual gap to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through blended finance. It looks at opportunities and ways to optimise funding sources for financial inclusion. Read more here.

UFA2020 Overview: Universal Financial Access by 2020

This brief provides an overview of UFA2020, highlighting key messages, context and strategy.

Igniting SDG Progress Through Digital Financial Inclusion

How can this digital revolution help us reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals more quickly? One important answer is through digital financial inclusion. Inclusive digital financial services refer to mobile money, online accounts, electronic payments, insurance and credit, combinations of them and newer fintech apps, that reach people who were formerly excluded. Digital financial inclusion,…

Digital Finance Impact Evidence Summary

Between November 2016 and May 2017,  Digital Finance studies were screened for contributions to the evidence on the effect of Digital Finance on individuals, households, and communities. This cumulated into the development of an Evidence Gap Map (EGM) for Digital Finance. At the time of writing, 40 Digital Finance impact studies were identified from 21…

Toward Universal Financial Inclusion in China : Models, Challenges, and Global Lessons

China has achieved remarkable success in financial inclusion. China’s rate of account ownership – a basic metric of financial inclusion – has increased significantly in the past two decades and is now on par with that of other G-20 countries. Traditional financial service providers have dramatically increased the reach of the formal financial sector, including…

Which financial needs can be (and should be) addressed by DFS?

It’s been more than ten years since Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom launched M-PESA, one of the first digital finance innovations to hit the developing world. Since then banks, mobile network operators, FinTechs, and other third party organizations have followed suit and now offer a range of digital financial services to underserved customers. Mobile phones enabled…

Powering Opportunity The Economic Impact of Off-Grid Solar

This report provides powerful insights into the benefits of off-grid solar power. Namely, that solar home systems (SHS) are catalysing economic activity, creating income and improving quality of life. It is well-known that off-grid solar can deliver benefits to wellbeing and the environment, but until now, the impact of off-grid solar on economic activity, such…

How can users begin to keep value digital, longer?

Customers keep value digital either with the intention of saving or for convenience. Beyond the financial inclusion returns of saving or storing money digitally, digital finance providers are eager to drive these behaviors for the return-on-investment from increased transactions taking place within the ecosystem as well as from financial intermediation on the back-end. With infrequent, sporadic use…

How do advances in digital finance interact with dynamics of exclusion?

Worldwide, 2 billion people lack access to formal financial services. The financial inclusion agenda is committed to including this population within the formal financial system. In an ideal world, the digital finance community could design and deploy products, services, programs, and policies specifically designed to serve the excluded—to connect the unconnected, bank the unbanked, empower…

Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age

Billions of adults across the globe lack access to the financial services they need to achieve even modest levels of financial well-being. Many households and small businesses in emerging markets have no or very limited access to formal financial services. Even in developed countries, they only have access to a limited menu of cost-effective products from financial institutions…

Mobile Telephony, Financial Inclusion, and Inclusive Growth

The paper employs the multipurpose nature of mobile telephony to investigate its welfare implications using a large sample of households in Ghana. We use seemingly unrelated probit and instrumental variable procedure to test for two related issues: First, we investigate whether mobile telephony promotes pro-poor development by helping households to efficiently allocate consumption and navigate out of poverty. Second, we analyze whether…

The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report: Building a Secure and Inclusive Global Financial Ecosystem

The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) report evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries.

Beyond Financial Inclusion: Financial Health as a Global Framework

Over the course of 2016, Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), in collaboration with the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), evaluated hypotheses,  conducted research, convened thought-leaders, and tested assumptions, all for the purpose of determining the validity of financial health as a core concept internationally. Teams worked…

Financial Inclusion in Refugee Economies

This paper by Kim Wilson and Roxani Krystalli is an editorial essay, with insights informed by a study on the financial journeys of refugees conducted in Greece, Jordan, Turkey, and Denmark in July and August 2016. This essay begins by providing a brief overview of financial inclusion and the “digital/formal” trends. It proceeds to discuss…

Financing the Frontier: Inclusive Financial Sector Development in Fragility-Affected States in Africa

Poverty rates in Africa’s states and regions considered ‘fragility-affected’ (DFID, 2016) are, on average, 20% higher than countries with comparable levels of economic development. The gap is widest for countries affected by repeated cycles of violence. Finance can play a crucial role in poverty and conflict cycles, as lack of equitable access to financial services…

G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion

The G20 stands at an unprecedented time when leadership has the potential to drive the growth of inclusive economies by promoting digital financial services. Two billion adults globally do not have access to formal financial services and are excluded from opportunities to improve their lives. While tremendous gains in financial inclusion have already been achieved,…

G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion

The Group of Twenty (G20) recognizes the key role of financial inclusion in helping to move towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy. In this decade, digital finance has already successfully improved access to finance by women, the poor, the young, the elderly, farmers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other underserved customer…

Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies

The report by Mckinsey is the first to comprehensively quantify the economic and social impact to emerging economies of digital finance, or financial services delivered via digital technologies– mobile phones or the Internet–with less use of cash and traditional bank branches. In addition to extensive economic modeling, we draw on findings from seven country visits…

Can Postal Networks Advance Financial Inclusion in the Arab World?

As existing and trusted institutions with large branch networks reaching rural areas, Arab postal networks have the potential to be powerful tools in the fight for greater financial inclusion in the Arab world. Beyond a few success stories, however, the Arab World has so far not capitalized on the potential of its postal networks. This…

Financial Inclusion in Russia: The Demand-Side Perspective

The G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators suggest that financial inclusion should be measured in three dimensions: (i) access to financial services, (ii) usage of financial services, and (iii) quality of products and service delivery. To form a comprehensive view, the G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators include both supply-side and demand-side data. In addition, they provide further insight…

The 2016 Brookings Financial And Digital Inclusion Project Report

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP), launched in summer 2014, examines access to and usage of secure, affordable formal financial services among underserved populations. The objective of FDIP is to provide policymakers, the private sector, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and the general public with information that can help improve financial inclusion in their…

Financial Inclusion: Zooming in on Latin America

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have made important strides in promoting financial inclusion of firms and households. However, while the region is broadly at par with its peers on financial inclusion of firms, household inclusion lags behind. Nonetheless, there is substantial heterogeneity across LAC countries. Reducing borrowing costs and strengthening further the…

Financial Inclusion: Can It Meet Multiple Macroeconomic Goals?

Since financial inclusion is a multidimensional concept, its macroeconomic effects depend on its nature. This paper from the IMF examines the linkages of financial inclusion with economic growth, financial and economic stability, and inequality; it offers three key policy-relevant findings. First, financial inclusion increases economic growth up to a point. Greater access of firms and…

Financial Inclusion in Africa

This publication is edited by Thouraya Triki and Issa Faye from the AfDB’s Development Research Department. It is a novel effort in at least three different ways. First, it contributes to our understanding of the issue of financial inclusion, on which there is little research to date. In doing so, this publication provides a comprehensive…

Global Financial Development Report 2014: Financial Inclusion

This GFDR report seeks to contribute to the evolving debate on financial inclusion. It follows the inaugural 2013 Global Financial Development Report, which re-examined the state’s role in finance following the global financial crisis. Both reports seek to avoid simplistic views, and instead take a nuanced approach to financial sector policy based on a synthesis…

Facilitating Market Development to Advance Financial Inclusion

The work of developing financial services for the poor has evolved considerably over the past 30 years. The genesis of today’s picture is the sustained effort in the 1970s and 1980s of donors, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments to design and use—in countries across the globe—new methods of providing the poor with access to affordable…

Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Inclusion

CGAP have produced this FAQ page which answers some frequently asked questions about financial inclusion, its impact and the role of technology.

Financial Inclusion and Development: Recent Impact Evidence

This Focus Note from CGAP is organized in three sections. The first section describes the extent to which poor households typically live and work in the informal economy and explores the implications of this for how access and use of financial services can benefit them. The second section summarizes recent empirical impact evidence at the…

Global Standard-Setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion: The Evolving Landscape

This second whitepaper from GPFI builds on the considerable progress in recent years in integrating financial inclusion into the work of global standard-setting bodies (SSBs) and looks forward, examining new challenges in the changing landscape of the digitization of financial services. In just the few years since the October 2011 GPFI White Paper, Standard-Setting and Financial…

Mystery Shopping for Financial Services

Mystery shopping is a tool that involves sending consumers to places of business, government agencies, or other service providers to simulate a typical customer inquiry. By conducting mystery shopping visits, we can better understand important financial inclusion issues such as differentiated treatment of low-income or inexperienced consumers, quality of product advice, and compliance with consumer…

The Connectors Project- MasterCard

A major portion of the world’s population doesn’t have the opportunity to prosper. That hasn’t stopped some from taking steps that work around barriers to be economically included. The Connectors Project began with an attempt to swing the camera around: to look at the challenges of those with a way to go on their journey to…

Exploring Business Pathways to Digital Financial Inclusion: Early Indications from a Field Visit to Ghana and Tanzania

This report by David Porteous and Ignacio Mas contains an initial evaluation of the opportunities for spreading financial services through business networks in local communities across sub-Saharan Africa. The central premise is that small, local business that are able to establish a data-rich, trusted relationship with financial institutions can be effective channels for spreading the…

Why digital payments are not replacing cash

Globally, the financial inclusion agenda has focused on migrating consumers, providers and governments to digital payment instruments, in a bid to reduce the cost of payments and to allow for the digitisation of other services for which payments are required (e.g. savings, credit and insurance). However, despite the increasing focus on and availability of digital…

Why bank account access is not translating into usage

Underlying the global financial inclusion agenda is the assumption that providing access to and ownership of bank accounts will improve the lives of previously excluded adults and contribute to economic growth objectives. This assumption is reinforced by global surveys such as the World Bank Global Financial Inclusion Index (Findex) and the country-level FinScope Consumer Survey, which monitor the…

Making Access to Financial Services Possible (MAP)

MAP is a multi-country, financial-inclusion initiative launched by Cenfri in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and FinMark Trust. It brings together stakeholders from government, the private sector and the donor community to tailor a set of practical actions through a process of evidence-based analysis – aimed at extending financial inclusion. Cenfri took…

Bridging the Gap: The Business Case for Financial Capability

This paper is an attempt to begin to survey the evidence base on the scope of the financial capability issue, the different financial education models that are being tried and the economics of various leading and emerging approaches. Specifically, it focuses on the financial education programs being delivered by MFIs and other financial institutions—including commercial…

The Global Findex Database 2014 Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World

The Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database, launched by the World Bank in 2011, provides comparable indicators showing how people around the world save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. The 2014 edition of the database reveals that 62 percent of adults worldwide have an account at a bank or another type of financial institution…

Pathways to Smarter Digital Financial Inclusion

We can now easily imagine a situation within the next ten years where most people will have a smart phone.  This paper by Ignacio Mas explores new pathways this will open up for extending financial services to the mass of the population who currently are distrustful of financial institutions and dubious of the value that…

The Great Competition and Innovation Deficit

In this thoughtful and provocative blog post, Ignacio Mas lays down a series of challenges for everyone working on financial inclusion. Why aren’t these rather obvious and incremental things done by interested market participants themselves? Why don’t they already experiment with customer communication modes and new product features? Why don’t they eagerly seek out impact…

Money Resolutions, Digital Simulations

This paper explores how the broad financial decision-making practices commonly employed by poor people (as depicted in the companion paper “Money Resolutions, A Sketchbook”) could be supported through a digital financial service platform. We focus on two particular practices: money animation and liquidity farming. We frame these solutions in the context of a broader discussion…

Digitizing the Kaleidoscope of Informal Financial Practices

This paper contrasts the psychological and cultural richness of informal savings mechanisms with the simpler, more rigid and yet less intuitive format of digital savings products. Financial inclusion should not imply a rejection of informal financial practices but a synthesis of the informal and the digital.

Money Resolutions, a Sketchbook

The purpose of this paper is to identify those broad behaviors and mental ideas that commonly underpin poor people’s money management practices. A metaphorical image is associated with each of these behaviors and mental ideas in order to make them come to life more strongly. The aspiration is to depict them in a way that…

Transforming Access to Finance in Developing Countries Through Mobile Phones: Creating an Enabling Policy Framework

Technology, and in particular the spread of real-time communications networks, permits banks to delegate last mile cash management and customer servicing functions to third-party retail outlets. By making basic deposit, withdrawal, and payment functions available securely through retail shops that exist in every village and neighborhood, there is an opportunity to dramatically increase the physical…

Global Standard-Setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion: The Evolving Landscape

The March 2016 GPFI White Paper, builds on the considerable progress in recent years in integrating financial inclusion into the work of global standard-setting bodies (SSBs) and looks forward, examining new challenges in the changing landscape of the digitization of financial services.

Kenya Financial Diaries Shilingi Kwa Shilingi – The Financial Lives of the Poor

The Kenya Financial Diaries was an ambitious project designed to deepen understanding of the financial lives of low-income Kenyans by capturing all of their transactions over the course of a year, through fortnightly visits. Alongside quantitative records of money flowing into and out from the study households, interviewers recorded respondents’ stories, perceptions, and the events…