How About Full Financial Inclusion in 8 Years, 2 Months, and 25 Days?

> Posted by Susy Cheston
Tilman Ehrbeck is the latest financial inclusion star to be interviewed on CGAP’s Microfinance Now series.  Good overview of our history and the current opportunities in the industry, delivered with Tilman’s usual eloquence. For me the money line was his bold statement that we will see full financial inclusion “in our lifetimes.”  Well, maybe not quite so bold. Specifically, he said “there’s a body of knowledge coming together that actually allows us I believe in our lifetime to reach something like full financial inclusion.”
Despite the wiggle room, that’s an important statement from an industry leader, and Tilman’s comment that he believes this is “doable to some degree” hints that he arrived at his vision after a pragmatic analysis of industry realities.
I’d like to challenge Tilman, though, to take this vision to the next step. Let’s work as a community to build out the action agenda suggested by the Center’s “Opportunities and Obstacles to Financial Inclusion” survey. And let’s call for “full financial inclusion by 2020.” What would need to happen in the world for us to achieve full financial inclusion in the next eight years and change? What if we set measurable goals to which we can hold ourselves accountable? And can we rally around a definition of financial inclusion that includes quality and not just access, and that encompasses the full range of services that all of us need in order to manage our financial lives and increase our assets?
Tilman’s “not in two years, but it also won’t take twenty years” is a great start, as is CGAP’s new initiative on understanding clients that keeps the focus on the quality of financial inclusion. Now let’s see if we can put clear, measurable targets behind the dream—and make it happen by 2020.
For more information, sign up for updates from the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign. 
Image credit: AlMare
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