Editors Note: On August 23, the Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) released the 2015 Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report and Scorecard. Brookings will hold an event and live webcast on Wednesday, August 26 to discuss the report’s findings. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #FinancialInclusion and submit comments on the report to FDIPComments@brookings.edu.
Around the world, some two billion adults lack access to an account at a formal financial institution. In order to shrink that number, many countries have made commitments to expanding financial services to the poor. These commitments include recognizing the importance of financial inclusion, developing an inclusion policy, and using data to measure progress toward inclusion goals. The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 21 countries. Of these countries, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Rwanda and Uganda were the top scorers.
The 2015 FDIP Report and Scorecard rank these countries based on four dimensions of financial inclusion: country commitment, mobile capacity, regulatory environment, and adoption of traditional and digital financial services. The findings indicate that country commitments do matter for achieving financial inclusion. Some regional trends are present, such as the relatively higher amount of money stored on mobile accounts in Africa. Mobile technology accelerates financial inclusion in places that lack legacy financial institutions. Additionally, a gender gap persists in ownership of financial accounts that could be reversed with greater access to mobile money services. The 2015 Report and Scorecard are the first in a series of publications intended to provide policymakers, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and the general public with information that can help improve financial inclusion in these countries and around the world.