Can Postal Networks Advance Financial Inclusion in the Arab World?
As existing and trusted institutions with large branch networks reaching rural areas, Arab postal networks have the potential to be powerful tools in the fight for greater financial inclusion in the Arab world. Beyond a few success stories, however, the Arab World has so far not capitalized on the potential of its postal networks. This is a glaring omission in light of demographic trends that highlight the need for financial access: growing population, high fertility rates, large youth and rural populations, and recent changes as a result of the Arab Spring.
Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen are each in the process of (or contemplating) major postal network reform. They are emblematic of a global reform trend among several countries, including China, Brazil, and India. But transforming Arab postal networks into full-fledged, financially inclusive service providers will require the government to commit to providing a clear financial inclusion mandate and to working with donors to build capacity and upgrade management information systems.