Financial inclusion and financial education are becoming increasingly recognized as key requirements for sustainable and inclusive growth, and have been recognized as such by international fora such the Group of Twenty (G20) and the OECD. However, countries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus region have generally lagged in this area. Aside from Kazakhstan, the levels of financial inclusion are substantially below the average level of developing economies. Moreover, there has been little study of the determinants of and barriers to the development of financial inclusion and financial literacy in this region.
In this study, prominent scholars in each country examine recent trends in financial inclusion in seven countries—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan—for both individuals and small and medium-sized firms (SMEs); institutional and regulatory barriers to the expansion of financial inclusion; and policy options to support greater financial inclusion while maintaining financial stability. The book also examines issues related to the assessment of financial literacy and promotion of financial education to support greater financial inclusion in the region.
One prominent feature of the region is the relatively slow uptake of innovative financial technologies that could promote financial inclusion such as mobile phone banking, crowd funding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms. This book examines the barriers to such development, as recommends policies to facilitate the introduction of such technologies.