CGAP welcomes G20's Commitment to Innovative Financial Inclusion

28 June 2010

For Immediate Release

Jeanette Thomas
+1 202 473-8869
+1 202 744-4829
jthomas1@worldbank.org

Jim Rosenberg
+1 202 473 1084
jrosenberg@worldbank.org

G20 Endorsement Adds Momentum for Innovation to Broaden Financial Access

Washington, DC. 28 June 2010—CGAP, an independent policy and research center dedicated to access to finance for the world’s poor, welcomed this weekend’s announcement by the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders that they have developed a set of “Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion” that will support efforts to accelerate the delivery of financial services to the poor using innovative approaches.

“One billion people with mobile phones do not have even a basic bank account,” said Alexia Latortue, CGAP’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. “The G20 Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion encourage policymakers to harness the potential of new approaches such as branchless banking to reach the more than 2.7 billion people globally who are unable to open a bank account, get insurance, or receive loans that would help them save for the future, and invest in their homes or businesses.”

The principles developed by the G20 Leaders emphasize, among other factors, the need for strong leadership, product diversity, proper incentives for financial institutions, and sound consumer protection in innovating for financial inclusion. “The G20 Leaders’ backing will go a long way to encourage both policymakers and the private sector to be innovative yet prudent in their approach to reaching poor people around the world,” added Latortue.

CGAP served as a technical expert to the G20 team that worked on the principles, drawing on lessons learned from more than four years of work under the Technology Program at CGAP as well as responses to a survey conducted by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and input from a diverse array of other development organizations, standard setting bodies, and private sector groups. The draft principles were discussed with a wide range of stakeholders, including the G24, OECD, and the UN. CGAP updated diagnostic assessments from countries leading in innovative financial inclusion to inform the development of the principles. The full report by the G20 team to G20 Leaders also includes selected case studies.

The next step, in the months leading up to the next G20 Leaders Summit in Seoul, Korea in November, will be to formulate concrete actions policy makers, standard setting bodies and the private sector can take, in G20 countries and non-G20 countries alike, toward implementing the principles to deliver financial services to those currently denied them.

CGAP is an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world's poor. The Technology Program at CGAP is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CGAP, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).