What is Financial Inclusion?  Also referred to as “inclusive financing”, it calls for access to a full suite of quality  financial services at affordable costs, to all persons who could use them, delivered by a broad range of providers. Gaining momentum since the early 2000’s, financial inclusion has been recognized as a vital tool in addressing the financial needs of poor clients. In addition to pushing for reasonable costs for financial services (e.g. savings, insurance and payment transfers), financial inclusion proponents also advocate for sound and safe institutions accompanied by specific regulations and industry performance standards.  A competitive and stable marketplace, comprised of various providers, is also essential to the financial inclusion landscape.

 

Global Microscope 2016: The Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion.  This study by The Economist Intelligence Unit analyses the overall regulatory and institutional environment for financial inclusion in more than 50 countries.

Banana Skins Report: Financial Services for All (2015). The report shows that while the financial inclusion business is ripe with opportunity, it is also contains potential risks due to the speed at which the market is evolving, the complexities of technology and product development, and the strength of competition from formidable players.

Financial Inclusion 2020 (FI2020) Progress Report (2015).  Report launched by Accion and the Center for Financial Inclusion notes that despite expanding access, account usage is stagnant, if not declining, and thus far efforts to address this important gap have not been commensurate with the challenge.  Financial inclusion focuses on 5 areas: addressing customer needs, financial capability, client protection, credit reporting and data, and technology. An interactive website rates progress.

Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World.   The (World Bank) Global FINDEX Database of 2014 reveals that progress has been made in expanding financial inclusion globally  with the number of people having a financial account growing by 700 million between 2011 and 2014 (or 62% of adult population). It further notes that 3 years ago, 2.5 billion adults were unbanked, today that number is 2 billion (or 20% decrease).

Spotlight on International Funders’ Commitments to Financial Inclusion (2014). This CGAP and MIX survey  notes that in 2013, international funders committed at least US$31 billion to support financial inclusion—an estimated increase of 7 percent on average per year between 2011 and 2013.  Its analysis indicates that public funding continues to dominate, while private funding decreased for the first time.

Global Microscope 2014 (2014). This report measures the conditions for financial inclusion beyond microfinance. It examines the inclusiveness of countries’ financial sectors by considering best practices in regulation and institutional support in the safe provision of a wider range of financial services to low income populations. Developed by the EIU in collaboration with the MIF, CAF, CFI, and Citi Microfinance, the Microscope scores countries to benchmark progress toward financial inclusion for the bottom of the pyramid.

Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity (2014).  The study by the Center for Financial Inclusion and HelpAge International examines the unmet financial needs of older people globally (particularly Latin America). It discusses the barriers and opportunities related to financial services in older age, a relatively neglected area of study.

Seizing the Moment: On the Road to Financial Inclusion (2013). An outline and highlights on the topic leading up to an event in London in 2013 organized by the Center for Financial Inclusion that focused on “The FI2020 Question: Can the World Achieve Global Financial Inclusion by 2020?”

The Maya Declaration: The AFI member commitment to financial inclusion Forming a key basis for financial inclusion, the Maya Declaration is the first global and measurable set of commitments by developing and emerging country governments to unlock the economic and social potential of the 2.5 billion ‘unbanked’ people through greater financial inclusion.

Global Financial Inclusion initiative.   Innovations for Poverty Action conducts research identifying and innovating products and programs. In one of their findings they noted that “in low and middle income economies, 41% have access to a formal bank account vs. 89% in high-income countries.”

Trends in International Funding for Financial Inclusion.  (2013)  Funders committed at least $29 billion in 2012 to support financial inclusion—an estimated increase of 12 percent compared to 2011.