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Massive Drops In Number Of Unbanked Will Bring Millions Out Of Poverty

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Apr 15, 2015

The world has made huge progress in financial inclusion in recent years with a significant increase in number of people using financial services. It means huge opportunity for businesses to serve a population with increasing financial capacity. A new report released today claims: between 2011 and 2014, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers, and the number of "unbanked" individuals dropped 20 percent to 2 billion adults.

Between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of adults with an account increased from 51 percent to 62 percent, a trend driven by a 13 percentage point rise in account ownership in developing countries and the role of technology. In particular, mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa are helping to rapidly expand and scale up access to financial services. Along with these gains, data also show big opportunities for boosting financial inclusion among women and poor people.

The Impact

Financial inclusion, measured by the Global Findex as having an account that allows adults to store money and make and receive electronic payments, is critical to ending global poverty. Studies show that broader access to, and participation in, the financial system can boost job creation, increase investments in education, and directly help poor people manage risk and absorb financial shocks.

"Access to financial services can serve as a bridge out of poverty. We have set a hugely ambitious goal - universal financial access by 2020 - and now we have evidence that we’re making major progress," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "This effort will require many partners - credit card companies, banks, microcredit institutions, the United Nations, foundations, and community leaders. But we can do it, and the payoff will be millions of people lifted out of poverty."

Source: World Bank Group

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