Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021

It’s the end of another year, which means it’s time for our annual list of most widely read blog posts. As always, we hope that you’ve found our blog to be a useful source of expert commentary on the latest developments in financial inclusion, timely research and data, and new ideas.

Our bloggers explored a wide array of issues this year. As the world continued to grapple with COVID-19, they described how the microfinance sector can avoid a solvency crisis and how microfinance institutions can build their resilience through digitization. While the world’s eyes were on COP26, they made the case that inclusive finance can be a part of the solution to climate change. They explored numerous issues related to gender — in fact, half of this year’s most read posts are about women’s financial inclusion.

Top blogs 2021 word cloud

Also noteworthy is the fact that Bangladesh turned 50 this year. As the Wall Street Journal put it: “[Bangladesh] has much to be proud of.” To mark the occasion, we invited experts who know the country well to reflect on the role inclusive finance has played in Bangladesh’s progress over several decades.

These are just some of the topics you read about on our blog in 2021. Below are the most widely read posts in case you want to catch up before the year ends.

10. Opening Pandora’s Box: Revisiting the Impact of Small Business Finance

Few words are as polarizing in the financial inclusion community as “impact.” While conversations about the impact of small business finance have quieted down in recent years, the debate is far from settled. Here are four gaps in the evidence base that should be filled to move our understanding forward.

9. What Drives the Financial Inclusion Gender Gap for Young Women?

Ahead of International Women's Day 2021, CGAP and the Global Findex team analyzed how the account ownership gender gap varies across regions and age groups. The gender gap remains significant for all age groups in developing economies, averaging 9 percentage points, but the global gap masks significant regional differences.

8. Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment in Financial Inclusion

What’s the best way to measure the impact of financial inclusion initiatives on women’s economic empowerment? In this blog post, FinEquity — a community of practice hosted by CGAP that is dedicated to advancing women’s financial inclusion — answers to common questions about how to measure the impact of financial inclusion initiatives on women’s economic empowerment.

7. Exploring Innovative Financial Services for Rural Women’s Livelihoods

Rural women are highly engaged in agriculture and play critical roles across food systems. Yet they are disproportionately poor and financially underserved. CGAP’s latest research on rural women’s livelihoods points to two ways financial services can help women increase their incomes: improving women’s returns to labor and access to markets.

6. Harnessing Fintech in the Arab World: An Opportunity Worth Billions

Closing the Arab world’s financial inclusion gap would benefit millions of low-income people and small businesses. The region’s growing array of fintech solutions have great potential to narrow the gap. So what can funders and policy makers do to harness this potential for financial inclusion?

5. How Social Norms for Men Restrict Women’s Financial Inclusion

Addressing social norms that affect men’s role in society and influence their behavior is an important — but largely overlooked — aspect of advancing women’s financial inclusion.

4. Can Free Phones Close the Digital Gender Divide?

The gender gap in mobile phone ownership is well-documented. For years now, the financial inclusion community has been trying to get phones into the hands of more women at the last mile. But mobile phones and mobile financial services only matter if women actually use them to meet their goals. This doesn’t always happen. Why?

3. Is Mexico’s “Fintech Law” Leading a New Trend in Fintech Regulation?

Some regulators are looking to Mexico's so-called "fintech law" as an example of how to respond to the full range of fintech innovations in a single law. But this isn't what the Mexican law does, and there are good reasons for this.

2. Is Financial Inclusion a Reason to Push Central Bank Digital Currencies?

Advocates of central bank digital currencies often cite financial inclusion as a reason to introduce them. In this blog, financial inclusion experts interrogate their three main arguments: improved access to digital financial services, enhanced efficiency of payments and lower cost.

1. Comparing India’s UPI and Brazil’s New Instant Payment System, PIX

Many countries are pressing forward with new systems to enable better, faster digital payments. Brazil's instant payment system, PIX, is among the newest and most exciting. How does it compare to India's well-known UPI system? Find out in 2021’s most widely read CGAP blog post.

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