A recent World Bank report on the use of financial services finds that financial inclusion is on the rise globally, accelerated by mobile phones and the internet, but gains have been uneven across countries and men remain more likely than women to have an account. Globally, 69 % of adults – that’s 3.8 billion people – now have an account at a bank or mobile money provider, a crucial step in escaping poverty. This is up from 62 % in 2014 and just 51 % in 2011.
The Global Findex, a wide-ranging data set on how people in 144 economies use financial services, was produced by the World Bank with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in collaboration with Gallup, Inc.
The heartening news is that there’s been a significant increase in the use of mobile phones and the internet to conduct financial transactions. Between 2014 and 2017, this has contributed to a rise in the share of account owners sending or receiving payments digitally from 67 % to 76 % globally, and in the developing world from 57 % to 70 %. However, the gap between men and women in developing economies remains unchanged since 2011, at 9 percentage points.
From a regional perspective, in South Asia, the share of adults with an account rose by 23 percentage points, to 70 %. Progress was driven by India, where a government policy to increase financial inclusion through biometric identification pushed the share with an account up to 80%, with big gains among women and poorer adults. Excluding India, regional account ownership still rose by 12 percentage points—but men often benefited more than women. In Bangladesh, the share with an account rose by 10 percentage points among women while nearly doubling among men. Regionwide, digitizing payments for agricultural products could reduce the number of unbanked adults by roughly 40 million.
(Story courtesy : Wires)