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.
The global financial inclusion report is an unique one giving wealth of information of status of financial inclusion in formal system across the countries surveyed.
However I would like to share some of my observations. on the contents of the report..
1.When the critical objective of financial inclusion agenda, as referred to , is to ensure access to a broad range of financial services, , the report by and large covers deposit and credit although payment is also mentioned. Insurance services, which has been recognized as one of the micro financial services for protecting vulnerable poor , has not received due attention in the report
2.Nearly half of the world have deposit account as reported. It would be also more useful also to know how many of them are in operation. in the context of existence of inoperative or dormant accounts in the formal system and dropouts in SHG-MF system in informal sector in developing countries This holds good for loan/credit account also. Then only the real potential of financial inclusion would be known
3. One of the major hurdles in financial inclusion among others, is poor economic development in terms of physical infrastructure – roads, bridges, canals, power, transport, telecommunication, warehouses , marketing yards etc in certain region. In the absence of all this , merely insisting on financial inclusion will not work This fact explains why the credit deposit ratios of commercial banks in some of the eastern region as in the case of India, continuously prevails at low level over several decades. Perhaps this also holds good to speak of low percentage of growth of SMEs with 3% in developing countries.
In this context some sequencing of development inputs is needed as a pre condition of financial inclusion . The report could have made as analysis on this causal relationship between economic development and financial inclusion in different regions
4. While supply side factors for financial inclusion are well taken care of , demand side facts mostly represented by the excluded, unorganized and marginalized poor community .which influence the financial inclusion, are not adequately dealt with in the report.