Identifying Global Scale Solutions

The emergence of a digital economy, the globalization of data and information, rising inequality and increased migration flows are powerful global forces reshaping the world, creating new opportunities for people to move out of poverty, while also opening up new areas of risk. Increasingly world leaders recognize that financial inclusion, whereby everyone can access and use a financial account that contributes to their well-being, has an important role to play in enabling people to navigate this fast-changing world and is foundational to achieving many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for ending poverty. As a global think tank, CGAP seeks to expand and deepen financial inclusion through its research and experiments with the goal of identifying solutions that others take to scale. We work in four interconnected areas.

Business and Markets

The digital economy is connecting more low-income people to financial products and attracting a wider range of players to the financial services industry, spurring new ways of doing business and opening up new opportunities to achieve the SDGs. Read more >>
  • Millions of low-income households in emerging markets rely on micro and small enterprises (MSEs) to pursue economic opportunity and build resilience.
  • While a few platforms have experimented with offering financial services in partnership with fintechs and other financial services providers, this remains a largely unexplored area. CGAP is currently working with several platforms and their partners to pilot embedded financial solutions for platform workers.
  • In the context of global development, asset finance is about much more than enabling consumers to purchase expensive goods: it’s about helping people to afford the tools they need to improve their lives.
  • Cash-in/cash-out agent networks are key to extending digital financial services and ultimately financial inclusion. Providers have struggled to extend these agent networks in rural areas, where sparse populations lead to lower transaction volumes and weaker financial incentives for businesses to serve as agents.
  • While many fintechs claim to advance financial inclusion, the link between specific innovations and financial inclusion is often assumed rather than proven. The reality is that it is hard for funders, investors and social entrepreneurs know which innovations matter for low-income, underserved customers.
  • Global development challenges intersect with the financial lives of low-income people: where they get their money, how they manage it, whether it unlocks services that help them build sustainable livelihoods. CGAP research shows there are promising ways for digital finance to address these challenges.
  • Digital financial services providers will find here information to help them decide whether open APIs make sense for their business and, if so, how to implement an open API strategy.
  • CGAP's interoperability work seeks to help low-income users transact more easily across digital financial services networks. Exchanging payments is about much more than simply building the technical connections. Interoperability also requires effective governance, clear operating rules, and business agreements on how to support safe and reliable connections.
  • With vast amounts of revenue and data at stake, merchant payments are widely seen as one of the key battlegrounds in the struggle over the future of digital financial services (DFS).

Donors and Investors

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? Read more >>