The importance of data in strategic decision-making cannot be overstated – especially in the era of ‘big data’. Yet, as the inclusive finance community continues its efforts to shift more people from unbanked to banked, improving both data quality and data regularity is emerging as a priority issue.

FINclusionLab acaba de actualizar su base de datos y las visualizaciones correspondientes para el Perú. La información disponible en esta plataforma se nutre principalmente de la amplia base de datos de la Superintendencia de Banca y Seguros (SBS), y se complementa con información de las cooperativas miembros de FENACREP y las ONG microfinancieras pertenecientes a COPEME. FINclusionLab permite visualizar a lo largo del territorio de manera gráfica y dinámica la evolución de los puntos de acceso a servicios financieros, lo cual junto a datos sobre volumen de créditos y depósitos permite analizar la evolución y profundidad del sector financiero por tipo de entidad en las distintas regiones del país. A continuación se resaltan algunas de las conclusiones que se pueden extraer luego de un primer análisis de estos datos

In 2012, the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (BRB) together with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Financial Inclusion Data Working Group (FIDWG) conducted a national financial inclusion survey to diagnose the state of financial inclusion in Burundi. The survey results showed that only 12.5% of the adult population had a bank account. With this as a baseline, the BRB projected the financially included adult population to reach 25% in the next five years. Barriers to financial access may be both socio-economic and physical. Across the country, monthly income for more than 60 percent of the population is less than 25,000 BUF ($20), and 40 percent of the population is illiterate. Additionally, the long distance to access points is practical barrier that prevents people from using available financial services.

The outlook for Financial Inclusion in Malawi continues to improve, driven by new products and reach of market actors. The technology infrastructure for financial service is improving, finally implementing a much needed national switch[ to improve interconnectivity between banks. Mobile Money is maturing, seeing the entrance of a second major player in the market, TNM, in addition to dominant Airtel. Evidence of success from a 2011 agent banking initiative by the Reserve Bank of Malawi can be seen from the number of Commercial Bank Agents present in districts where traditional brick and mortar bank branches are not. Even mobile money seems to be actively adopting a similar strategy of using established retail outlets for agent roll-out, circumventing infrastructure woes prone to small agents.

Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa by size, and the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. In 2013, Ethiopia’s GNI per capita was $470, much lower than the Sub-Saharan Africa average of $1,615. Poverty levels are high, and the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking was 173 out of 187 countries in 2012. Ethiopia also has one of the lowest financial access rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 14 percent of adults have access to credit. However, Ethiopia is the fastest growing non-oil economy in Africa and has been active in promoting economic growth.

Having jumped from an inclusion rate of 27.4% in 2006 to 66.7% in 2013 in formal financial services, Kenya is a darling of the financial inclusion world. Mobile banking, especially Safaricom’s M-Pesa, is of notable importance to Kenyan’s access to financial services. But beyond mobile, a combination of partnerships, policy, products, and regulation[iii] have all been major contributors to Kenya’s success. Lessons learned from previous mistakes and an expansion of services have equated to systemic growth all while mitigating risk. To this end, the missing ingredient for inclusive growth appeared to be the availability of cash-in/cash-out access points to broad sections of the population.

FINclusionLab has recently added Peru to the list of countries for which centralized access is available to a database on financial services locations at a regional and sub-regional level. This noteworthy achievement makes Peru the first Latin American country to be incorporated into this financial inclusion platform.

Ghana has experienced strong economic growth over the past two decades, representing the fastest-growing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011. Now the country is classified as a middle income country by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Yet, this economic boom has come with important challenges. About a quarter of the population still lives below the poverty line, firms lack access to affordable credit, and nearly half of Ghanaians either have no access to financial products or do not use them.

Tanzania, a country well-known for its extraordinary landscape and wildlife, receives thousands of tourists each year. They visit the country to see lions, elephants, and giraffes in their natural environment, climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and stretch out on the beaches of Zanzibar.