This post is part of our Closing the Gap: Financial Inclusion blog series, which shares the views of selected experts and practitioners on different financial inclusion topics. Join the conversation by tuning in on Thursday, April 19 or ask a question now in English, French, Arabic or Spanish.
Millions in the developing world are blocked from economic opportunity by their limited access to financial products and services. Consequently, financial inclusion is increasingly a policy priority for governments and financial regulators, many of whom see it as a complement to their financial stability goals. To date, over 60 developing countries have committed to financial inclusion reforms. But experience has taught us that putting expansion of financial services as a priority is only a start, and that there are other factors to consider in order to move forward towards full financial inclusion that benefits individuals, firms and the economy:
A commitment to strategic reform is needed: Surveys confirm that comprehensive reform programs and clear mandates can accelerate progress towards financial inclusion. Regulators with a financial inclusion strategy are likely to have more financial inclusion activities under their purview and more resources and staff dedicated to working on these matters. Robust regulatory frameworks (which, for example, provide a flexible or graduated approach to addressing concerns regarding Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism) can more effectively catalyze the private sector response that is needed to expand financial inclusion. For example, reforms that strengthen financial infrastructure underpin the introduction of low cost and lower risk products and delivery models that are critical to expanded financial inclusion.
- financial inclusion