The 2016 Brookings FDIP is out!

brookingsI really enjoyed reading the report – which is not often the case with these “full of data” kind of reports.

Please find below the update on the 2015 and 2016 Brookings FDIP, plus some interesting highlights.

What I particularly liked:

  • Even though there is not much guidance attached, but a long section on marginalized populations, i.e., women or migrants is included;
  • The 26 country profiles which could be more complete by providing information on access to finance.

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP), launched in summer 2014, examines access to and usage of secure, affordable formal financial services among underserved populations. The objective of FDIP is to provide policymakers, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the general public with information that can help improve financial inclusion in their respective countries and beyond. As part of this aim, the FDIP team produces an annual report and scorecard evaluating commitment to and progress toward financial inclusion across a set of geographically, economically, and diverse countries.

The first annual FDIP report, published in August 2015, considered 21 countries across four “dimensions” of financial inclusion: country commitment, mobile capacity, regulatory environment, and the adoption of traditional and digital financial services. The report’s findings highlighted the importance of developing formal commitments to financial inclusion; engaging both public and private sector stakeholders in a national financial inclusion dialogue; and promoting the availability and adoption of appropriate digital financial services among underserved groups through enabling regulation and innovative design.

The 2015 report assessed fundamental questions, namely:

1) Do country commitments make a difference in progress toward financial inclusion?;

2) To what extent do mobile and other digital technologies advance financial inclusion?; and

3) What legal, policy, and regulatory approaches promote financial inclusion?

To answer these questions, the 2015 FDIP Report examined the inclusion landscape across 21 economically, geographically, and politically diverse countries by examining country-specific legislation and news stories, reviewing multinational datasets, and corresponding with financial inclusion experts in the focus countries and beyond. This research and engagement process enabled the FDIP team to compile a picture of the global financial inclusion landscape, and yielded the following key takeaways:

  • Country commitments to advancing financial inclusion matter.
  • The movement toward digital financial services will accelerate financial inclusion.
  • Geography generally matters less than policy, legal, and regulatory factors, although some regional trends in terms of financial services provision are evident.
  • Central banks, ministries of finance, ministries of communications, banks, non-bank financial service providers, and mobile network operators have major roles in achieving greater financial inclusion and should coordinate closely with respect to policy, regulatory, and technological advances.

Full financial inclusion cannot be achieved without addressing the financial inclusion gender gap and accounting for diverse cultural contexts with respect to financial services.

To come up with the recently published 2016 report, they

  • Solicited feedback from a diverse array of financial inclusion experts, including private and public sector representatives and experts at non-government entities.
  • Participated in and hosted a number of public and private events to engage with other financial inclusion experts.
  • Sought engagement with financial inclusion stakeholders by providing a dedicated comments portal regarding our work

In the current report 2016 they,

  • Broadened the 2016 country sample by adding the Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, and Vietnam Based primarily on takeaways from conversations with key stakeholders.
  • Highlight key updates in the financial inclusion sector since spring 2015 and identify action items to advance inclusive finance.
  • Made several enhancements to the indicators within the 2016 scorecard, which are detailed in the report.
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