Fishing. Photo by Udit Roy, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest Fishing. Photo by Udit Roy, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest

Systemic Approach to Financial Inclusion

Why don’t low-income people access and use financial services? Why are financial services providers not adequately serving low-income people? Why are supporting functions, rules, and norms that shape financial services markets absent or dysfunctional? What can funders do to ensure they are supporting appropriate market interventions with long-lasting change?

CGAP advocates a systemic approach to financial inclusion. This approach considers all aspects of a market system and breaks down barriers to financial inclusion that poor people face by nudging market actors to take up missing or weak functions in the market, which lead to weak markets that limit demand and supply and, thereby, exclude the poor from financial services.

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. Applying this approach requires funders to think of their role not as providers of missing services but, rather, as facilitators who incentivize and enable market actors to provide these services by performing market functions more effectively.

Explore CGAP's guidance on how to apply a systemic approach in funders programming.

Yellow corn, Bangladesh. Photo by Md. Masfiqur Akhtar Sohan, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest Photo by Md. Masfiqur Akhtar Sohan, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest
Publication

These guidelines are intended to provide guidance for funders promoting financial inclusion or pro-poor financial services markets as part of their development mandate. The target audience includes multilateral and bilateral donors, development finance institutions, and foundations.
Boat in India. Photo by Sudipta Das, 2015 CGAP Photo Contest Photo by Sudipta Das, 2015 CGAP Photo Contest
Publication

Monitoring and evaluation is an increasingly prominent aspect of development programs. This Handbook guides funders and their implementing partners on how to effectively measure results of financial inclusion programs that apply a systemic approach.
Video

A Market Systems Approach to Financial Inclusion

A market systems approach to financial inclusion means considering all aspects of a market system, and working to break down barriers that exclude the poor by nudging market actors to take up missing or weak functions in the market.
Additional Resources
Publication

Funders have an important role to play in exploring how data-enabled financial services can benefit poor people and in helping governments to balance the new risks that are emerging with the opportunities provided by a digital world.
Blog Series

Despite its acceptance as an important tool in development, market facilitation still lacks sufficient research on how it can be done best and under what conditions, particularly for financial markets. This blog series builds off of a series of case studies commissioned by FSD

Publication

It is time for DFIs to adopt an alternative approach to financial inclusion that prioritizes needed market changes. A shift to a market systems approach addresses this need and requires that DFIs carefully analyze each market to determine the key gaps, underlying causes, critical actors, and theory of change for bringing about sustainable market development.
Publication

The paper reviews how USAID, through two programs and in partnership with a series of market actors, helped change the microfinance market dynamics in the Philippines—from a specialized activity with limited outreach and highly dependent on subsidized credit, to a more inclusive and robust market-driven segment of the financial sector.
Publication

This Focus Note addresses the question: what does it take to facilitate a sustainable, commercially viable market for capacity building services delivered to financial service providers?