Current Trends in International Funding for Financial Inclusion

15 December 2015
[I]nternational funding of financial inclusion is estimated to have plateaued at $31 billion in 2014.
The 2015 Cross-Border Funder Survey reports commitments from the largest international funders of financial inclusion, as of 31 December 2014. CGAP has conducted the survey annually since 2008, and in partnership with MIX since 2012.
 
Funding for financial inclusion was stable in 2014, although the weaker euro caused a slight decrease in dollar terms. To a greater degree than in previous surveys, funders this year emphasized that due to other global priorities it was difficult to promote financial inclusion internally. Nevertheless, their commitments generally followed the same patterns as in years past, with the majority of funding directed at retail-level financial service providers (FSPs) through debt, which accounts for half of all commitments. There was an increasing interest in digital financial services and a rapid and sustained growth in funding to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Going forward, funders report that they will increase their funding to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and continue to focus on supporting FSPs, as well as payment systems and consumer protection programs.
 
After steadily increasing in previous years, international funding of financial inclusion is estimated to have plateaued at $31 billion in 2014. These data align with Official Development Assistance (ODA) trends reported by OECD, which showed that international aid (across all development sectors) also stabilized in 2014.
 
The ratio between public and private funding was largely unchanged, with public funding comprising 72 percent of global funding.
 
Twenty-three funders participated in the 2015 survey, accounting for 66 percent of this year’s global estimate. Among the 21 funders who have reported annually, commitments grew by 3 percent in 2013 U.S. dollars, but marked a small decline in current exchange rates due to a weaker euro at the end of 2014. The 3 percent growth rate is lower than in previous years (cf. 8 percent in 2013 and 13 percent in 2012), which is partially explained by the closure of some large projects.
 
However, some funders also cited a shift in priorities toward other financial sector areas. It is important to highlight that the stagnation in funding was not universal across all funders. Several reported increased portfolios, others reported that portfolios shrank, and the rest reported stable commitments. When combined, these individual movements balanced out to reveal a relatively flat overall trend.
 
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