The ability to make payments on a mobile phone has transformed peoples’ lives, especially in developing countries. But what lies ahead for mobile money and its applications for financial inclusion? That may depend on who is using it.
CGD Policy Blogs
Despite a broad recognition that increased access to financial services can bring significant benefits to the poor, catalyzing economic development, financial inclusion in emerging markets and developing economies continues to lag far behind expectations. While a large number of countries have implemented policy changes to advance digital financial inclusion, results have been mixed. To that end, we are developing a first-ever DFS decision-making tool, A Decision Tree for Improving Financial Inclusion - an analytical framework that allows a systematic identification of the most problematic constraints for financial inclusion in country-specific settings.
Ethiopia has its sights set on becoming Africa’s next tech hub, rivalling Nairobi, Lagos, and Cape Town. But in its quest for digital supremacy, Ethiopia will need to take steps to create an enabling environment for the digital startup sector, which across Africa is driven in large part by fintech.
Eight years and millions of mobile financial transactions later, we came together again at a private CGD roundtable in London to discuss the potential of mobile banking and savings for women’s economic empowerment. We were pleased to hear the richness of research evidence and interventions on women’s financial inclusion that have emerged over the past decade. What follows are some takeaways from our deliberations, informed by this research and practice.
Like the mythical Roman god Janus, there are two faces to most of the economies of the MENA region. We can call them the young and the old. And that the choice for MENA governments to make is not which face of Janus to support, but rather how to ensure that both can co-exist and prosper.
For the policymaker looking to improve services and the delivery of benefits, or for the financial institution trying to expand its customer base, the gap between technical solutions and the situation of the average technology user represents fertile ground for the many new opportunities that the digital economy provides.
Here at CGD, we’re always working on new ideas to stay on top of the rapidly changing global development landscape. Whether it’s examining new technologies with the potential to alleviate poverty, presenting innovative ways to finance global health, assessing changing leadership at international institutions, or working to maximize results in resource-constrained environments, CGD’s experts are at the forefront of practical policy solutions to reduce global poverty and inequality. Get an in-depth look below at their thoughts on the 2018 global development landscape.
As the price of bitcoin continues its dizzying rise—the currency briefly surpassed $19,000 yesterday—the already passionate debate about its role in the global economy has become even more heated. Over the last two months, prominent economists and financiers, including Citi CEO Jamie Dimon, former IMF Chief Economist Kenneth Rogoff, and former Chair of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke have all voiced skepticism about the currency, triggering a loud response from the crypto community.
The difficulties encountered by emerging markets’ regulators in balancing socially desirable innovations and possible risks are accountable for the slow development of fintech regulations in these economies. To address these problems, the framework developed in CGD’s report, Financial Regulations for Improving Financial Inclusion can support regulators’ efforts. This approach, based on three main principles, encourages the private sector to successfully adopt and adapt digital finance solutions for low-income populations while circumventing risks.
In November 2015, CGD published a report on the unintended consequences of anti-money laundering policies for poor countries, focusing on three groups: migrant workers who send remittances to their families, vulnerable people who are displaced by conflict or natural disasters and are in need of foreign assistance, and businesses that rely on cross-border trade. Since then, the international community has made several efforts to address the problem of financial exclusion created in part by these policies.