Cloves, Indonesia. Photo by Herwin Gunadi, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest

Funders & Partners

Over the past few decades, public funding for financial inclusion has helped to build an industry that now attracts private funding, both international and local. By 2020, funder commitments to financial inclusion had reached a historic high of $58 billion.

Yet, today many funders have begun to reorganize their work in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to articulate ways in which they can better leverage the private sector. Because many funders face competing pressures both in terms of capacity and the funding to deliver on the SDGs, there is an increasing risk of loss of focus on and visibility of financial inclusion and that the deep technical expertise required to build inclusive financial systems will be diluted. On the other hand, this is an opportunity to harness financial inclusion as an enabler of other development goals and to work across different sectors to achieve outcomes that address the needs of a variety of stakeholders. 

Understanding how the financial inclusion sector is evolving is challenging for donors and investors alike. What role can they play in an increasingly complex landscape? What market needs should they be focusing on? How should they go about it?

Through its research, CGAP aims to support and influence donors and investors navigating through these trends, adapting their practices to be more responsive to market needs and contributing to responsible market development for poor people.

Featured Collections

Small business owners in the floating market in Vietnam Floating Market by Thanh Hai Nguyen/2011 CGAP Photo Contest

The Financial Inclusion Navigator is a participatory review process for funders of financial inclusion, facilitated by CGAP as a neutral external party. It is designed to generate insights into how funder operations advance financial inclusion effectively in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the complex and fast-evolving markets in which they intervene.
Dyeing factory Fez, Morocco | Photo by Ihab Fayad, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest

Donors and investors need to continue thinking about and adapting their roles in an increasingly complex financial inclusion landscape. Knowing who is funding what, and where, is a good starting point. It can help funders make informed decisions on funding allocation, improve coordination among funders, and shed light on when and how to adjust their efforts to meet targeted objectives.
Photo by Ana Caroline de Lima, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest

In the past decade, we have seen the proliferation of research on how financial services can improve the lives of low-income people. While they provided valuable insights, these studies tended to focus on microcredit or a single financial product, such as savings or mobile money. As a result, an overly simplistic and product-focused story has emerged.
Fishing. Photo by Udit Roy, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest

Explore CGAP's guidance on how to apply a systemic approach in funders programming. A systemic approach aims to catalyze systemic change that is significant in scale and sustainable and that comes with built-in momentum for replication and adaption, beyond the timeframe of a development program.