In the last two years, the World Bank Group has committed more than $8 billion in financial support for financial access and inclusion and for developing national and regional financial infrastructure.
This past spring, the World Bank Group and a number of public and private-sector stakeholders committed to reaching 2 billion people in the next five years through the Universal Financial Access 2020 (UFA2020) initiative. The UFA2020 is focusing on 25 countries where 73% of the world’s unbanked population lives. However, we are eager to work with all countries where we can add value as a technical partner or provide critical financial support.
This global initiative complements the Maya Declaration that many AFI member countries committed to over the last four years. More than 85% of the reduction in the global unbanked population between 2011 and 2014 came from AFI member countries — some 55% were from countries with a Maya Declaration commitment.
At the global level, the World Bank Group and the Committee of Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have analyzed these challenges in the just released consultative report on Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion, which will help us understand how payment systems and services promote access to and use of financial services.
The report will suggest key actions countries should take to advance access to transaction accounts. These actions will be crucial to making financial inclusion a reality, which will help reduce global poverty and boost shared prosperity.
Gloria Grandolini is senior director of the Finance and Markets Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Follow @WBG_Finance on Twitter and use #FinAccess2020 to read about World Bank Group's work on Financial Inclusion.
This article was first published in The Guardian on October 8, 2015.