Financial Access 2010 Launch
At the World Bank on Thursday evening, Financial Access 2010 was launched to a full house. The report is based on data from financial regulators in 142 countries and provides the first ever framework for global comparisons on financial inclusion. Here are some highlights from the discussion.
Nancy Lee, deputy assistant secretary of the United States Treasury, pointed out that the enormous interest in financial inclusion by G-20 means that there will be more demand for data and measurement of global financial inclusion policies and practices. Even though an estimated 2.7 billion people around the world have no access to formal financial services, there is still almost no data available at a global level.
Although governments may have financial inclusion mandates, it’s often not translated into implementation on the ground. This finding from the report was echoed from a different perspective by Robyn Nietert from the Women’s Microfinance Initiative, who said that her experience lending to the poorest in Rwanda and Kenya also confirmed a gap between policies, intentions, and implementation.
The incoming CEO of CGAP, Tilman Ehrbeck, reaffirmed CGAP’s commitment to provide even more comprehensive data on financial inclusion through robust research. “What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get fixed,” he said, and reiterated that it is the role of CGAP and the World Bank Group to create an ecosystem within countries where policy and implementation can improve access and usage of financial services. “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” and this data provides a baseline from which we can make progress.