Why Is Pakistan So Far Behind Its Neighbors in Financial Inclusion?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Just this month the World Bank released the 2014 edition of its Global Financial Inclusion (Findex) database. Findex provides useful indicators on savings, borrowings, and payments made by people across the world. The data indicate that the global, adult, banked population stood at 62 percent as of 2014 end, but that still leaves a whopping 2 billion folks that still remain un-banked.

Going through the latest report, one comes across two interesting bits of data on Pakistan. But first note that Pakistan’s banking density pales in comparison to the region. Findex shows that just about 13 percent of Pakistan’s adult population (age 15 and above) had a bank account as of 2014. Compared to this, 83 percent of adults in Sri Lankan, 79 percent in China, 53 percent in India, and 31 percent in Bangladesh had a bank account.

Now there could be a host of social or economic reasons for such sharp regional disparity for Pakistan. But two major reason seem to have been well-captured by Findex.

In Pakistan, the data show, only about 5 percent of women hold a bank account. This is extremely low compared to 83 percent of women who have a bank account in Sri Lanka, 76 percent in China, 43 percent in India, 37 percent in South Asia (average) and 26 percent in Bangladesh.

Source: Business Recorder (link opens in a new window)

financial inclusion, poverty alleviation