The Quadrennial Quandary: Mobile financial inclusion still on an upswing, but women still face connectivity challenges
By Srinivas Nidugondi
The latest edition of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database has been jointly released by The World Bank Group and Gallup. Like its predecessors in 2011 and 2014 respectively, the data set offers a multi-faceted view of how far along global efforts to expand access to financial services have come and how they are likely to shape up.
As always, the key findings garnered from this dataset are collated into a comprehensive report, The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution. In brief, the report outlines how adults in over 140 economies access accounts, make payments, save, borrow and manage risk. Interestingly (and as expected), each economy has its own set of successes, challenges and opportunities when it comes to financial inclusion. Consequently, the report, overall, offers mixed results from the past three years. For example, while, on one hand, the global share of adults owning an account currently stands at 69 per cent (a seven percentage point leap from 2014), women (as a customer group) still lag behind men in terms of financial inclusion. As per the report, globally, a mere 65 per cent of women have an account, compared to 72 per cent of men. A seven percentage point gap, no doubt, but, unfortunately, one that has remained static since 2011.
Overall, of course, there is no doubt that financial inclusion has made significant inroads globally. Going forward, the report highlights that the continuous involvement of businesses will be vital for unlocking opportunities to enhance financial inclusion.
Photo courtesy of Paul Falardeau.