Who and Where are the Financially Included?
Updated: Oct 7
Financial inclusion is an important agenda that financial institutions and even the government of certain countries have been aiming to achieve. This is because financial inclusion is key to alleviating poverty all the while developing the economy. Simply put, financial inclusion is having access to a bank account, but it also applies to having access to financial services that are relevant, appropriately designed, and of good quality. It just so happens that opening a bank account is usually the first step into making use of other financial services.
The rate of financial inclusion has increased over the years due to strategies imposed by certain governments and the partnerships between financial institutions and the financial technology industry. There are even financial inclusion companies and online banking platform providers that focus on financial inclusion for all.
However, there is still work needed to be done. As of the World Bank’s 2018 report, there are around 1.7 billion people worldwide who do not have access to financial services and products. These people are financially excluded, and the top four countries with the most financially excluded individuals are in (1) China, (2) India, (3) Indonesia, and (4) Pakistan.
Because of China’s high population and vast rural areas, a lot are still considered financially excluded. Even if the country’s poverty rate is at a mere 1.7% of the population, that constitutes about 16 million individuals who are living below the country’s poverty line. Two of the groups who are more likely to be excluded include low-income people and people living in rural areas, so these explain why China still has the most number of financially excluded individuals in the world.
India, on the other hand, is the same as China in terms of its high population. However, its poverty rate is much higher — it being at 6.7% of the population as stated in 2019. Financially excluded people in India are mostly found in rural areas but the rate of financial inclusion is improving due to financial inclusion measures made by their government and better access to innovative technology.
The country that ranks third in terms of having the most financially excluded citizens is Indonesia. The country has 17,000 islands, so extending the reach of financial institutions to these islands can be hard. Access to financial services and products in these areas can be limited, hence the high rate of financially excluded people in the country.
Even though Pakistan is one of the first countries that adopted branchless banking regulations, it remains as one of the most unbanked in the world. One reason for this is that they rely on informal and unregulated means for their financial needs. The majority of the population is aware of mobile money capabilities so once they decide to make use of it, financial inclusion will improve in Pakistan.
Extending the reach of financial institutions to both rural areas and low-income households are key to make the unbanked financially included. It can be achieved with financial inclusion banking platforms like BanqIn (A Product of Bank-Genie). Branchless banking is one of the many solutions that has proven itself to work in giving access to the unbanked, so a remote banking platform like BanqIn can help make the financially excluded, included.
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