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Azerbaijan: a study in urban-rural contrasts

Azerbaijan's capital, Bakı, has over 23% of the entire country's population. It is also the center of the oil, gas, and financial services industries. The country has no other city close to it in size, and agriculture plays a much larger role in the economy outside Bakı's region. With this background it is not surprising that there are dramatic differences in financial services provision between the capital and the rest of the country. However, these are differences in type, not the differences in overall access that might have been expected.

Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit 2015: Accelerating Financial Inclusion to Enable Economic Progress

The three-day conference will be a catalyst for debate, best practice, knowledge exchange and partnerships among practitioners, policy-makers and other stakeholders seeking to achieve significantly greater financial inclusion in the region.

1.3 Million Square Miles of Financial Inclusion: New MIX report offers granular data on India

A startling statistic encapsulates the gravity of India’s financial inclusion problem: The country is currently home to 21 percent of the world’s unbanked adults. In an effort to counteract the fact that nearly half of the Indian population is without a bank account, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an ambitious financial inclusion plan in 2014.

State of the Data 2015: Filling the Gap in Financial Inclusion Data

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.

Perú: Desafíos para ampliar la cobertura de servicios financieros

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

Burundi, slowly but surely moving towards financial inclusion

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.

Malawi, advancing steadily towards financial inclusion

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: A first look at the financial inclusion landscape

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.

Place Matters: Identifying Priority Areas for Financial Inclusion in Kenya

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.

A Look at the Geographic Distribution of Financial Institutions in Peru

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.

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