Is mobile money key to financial inclusion?

Is mobile money key to financial inclusion?

“The United Nations has, jointly with the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, launched a commitment for Universal Financial Access by 2020.”

A recent article by the WE Forum discusses the challenge of providing access to financial services for those in the world today still without an account. The mobile phone proves to be a pioneering factor in its progress, but why is mobile money such a key driver of financial inclusion?

To understand this is to look at individual stories from those who most benefit. The case, for example of women in Tanzania who, before M-Pesa had to walk long distances with cash to buy the fish they need. Now they can call ahead to negotiate prices, transfer funds, and send others to fetch their purchase for them. Or perhaps the farmers there who can access an app that details weather forecasts and crop prices so that they can avoid the traders having the advantage at market.

“A key factor in our ability to make progress is connectivity… Increased connectivity is an opportunity in terms of increased access, not only to financial services but also to health, education and many other areas.”

“Connecting poor people to the formal financial sector also enables them to become customers and suppliers within the wider economy too” – The Gates Foundation.

In 2013, 2.5 billion adults were un-banked. Three years on, this number stands at 2 billion. With mobile phone subscriptions forecast to increase by 1.6 billion by 2020, the mobile infrastructure might soon be in place for universal financial access to be achievable.

To read the article in view, please click here.

Image: Flickr/Department for International Development

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