We work to make financial services meet the needs of the world's poor
CGAP is a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organizations that works to advance the lives of poor people through financial inclusion. Using action-oriented research, we test, learn and share knowledge intended to help build inclusive and responsible financial systems that move people out of poverty, protect their economic gains and advance broader development goals. We research and experiment to achieve proof of concept and extract lessons that can be built to scale by our partners, who apply our insights in the marketplace.
Globally, about 1.7 billion people have no financial account -- at a bank, mobile money provider or other formal institution. Even when they have accounts, many poor people find them of little value and they are left unused. The result is that roughly one in three of the world’s adult population lacks the financial services they could use to dramatically improve their lives. They have no savings for a child’s education; they cannot access loans to buy the seeds and fertilizers; and they have no insurance to protect them from medical or natural disasters.
A growing body of financial inclusion research shows that when poor people have better opportunities for how to manage their money, over time their income and consumption improve. In Kenya, women-headed households with access to mobile money services increased their savings by more than a fifth. In Malawi, farmers with earnings deposited into a savings account spent 13 percent more on farm equipment and their crop values rose by 15 percent. The evidence is building that financial inclusion is a key enabler for reducing poverty, and for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of improved education, better health, food security, access to clean water and more.
At CGAP, we work toward a world where poor people everywhere have an account they can use to advance their well-being. Enabling poor people, especially women, to capture opportunities and build resilience is core to our work. We identify barriers and emerging solutions that when unlocked have the greatest potential to deliver responsible financial services that meet the needs of poor people at scale. We view digital technologies as one of the critical means for reaching large numbers of poor people in cost-effective ways, and we focus on the special challenges for financial inclusion faced by women.
In our five-year strategy covering the period 2018 to 2023, CGAP has identified four interconnected priorities, which govern the direction of our project work:
- Creating value for poor customers, especially women and other excluded segments
- Building sustainable business models that deliver financial services to the poor at scale
- Developing the enabling infrastructure to connect people to financial services in a digital world
- Fostering a policy environment that supports innovation while protecting consumers.
In delivering on our mission of empowering poor people to use financial services relevant to their needs, we focus on three areas: income generation, essential services, and protecting basic standards of living.
Greta Bull, CGAP's CEO, discusses CGAP's role and five-year strategy