Monday, November 11, 2013

Focus on products that benefit poor: World Bank

As mobile banking and other technological innovations fuel the expansion of financial services in many developing countries, a new World Bank report said, urging policy makers to focus on products that benefit the poor, women and other vulnerable groups the most.
No-frills savings and automatic payment accounts, for example, offer a safe place for people to store and transfer money and help them maintain a relatively stable living standard. Evidence, however, is mixed on micro-credit and micro-insurance products.
"When well designed, efforts to foster financial inclusion can be an effective way to empower people," said World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim.
"Whether you are a public sector financial regulator or a private sector bank, it is in your interest to get everyone access to financial services., he said, adding that it is good for the world and will help us end poverty.
The 2014 Global Financial Development Report: Financial Inclusion, is the most comprehensive report yet on the topic. It comes as policy makers are pushing to reach the world’s unbanked - 2.5 billion people who make up about half of the world’s adult population. More than 50 countries recently set targets to improve financial inclusion.
Last month, Kim announced a new initiative to provide universal financial access to all working-age adults by 2020 - with the help of technological innovations such as e-money accounts and e-mobile wallets.

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