What Will You Do to Make Financial Inclusion a Reality by 2020?

> Posted by Elizabeth Davidson, Financial Inclusion 2020 Consultant

What’s Financial Inclusion 2020 going to do next? Since the conclusion of the FI2020 Global Forum just a few weeks ago, we’ve gotten this question a lot. For me, the more interesting question is, “What are you going to do?”

Over 140 Global Forum participants answered this question by filling out a postcard with their personal commitment to advancing financial inclusion.

Here’s a sampling of what financial inclusion leaders plan to do to advance to full financial inclusion by the year 2020.

Work together.

“Partner with government and the development community to not only launch scalable and relevant products but also build usage to ensure true financial inclusion.”

“Foster stronger collaboration through best practices between developed and developing countries.”

Increasing collaboration emerged as a huge theme, with over one-third of respondents referencing their commitment to increase work with other financial inclusion stakeholders and more than 20 participants identifying collaboration as the key component of their commitment. For us, this is exciting: collaboration is a key tenet of FI2020. We believe collaboration among different kinds of actors will be a big part of the solution to reaching full financial inclusion.

Learn what works.

“Gain a better understanding of the causes of dormancy and how to encourage greater activity.”

“Collect data and ideas that can help frame the actions of people who can actually get things done.”

Sixteen commitments centered on the theme of conducting and engaging with research on what works in financial inclusion. We still haven’t figured out what works in key areas like financial capability and encouraging usage. Forum participants made it clear that research is not enough: dissemination of lessons learned was widely mentioned in the commitments. We need to ensure that the fantastic research out there is getting to those who can use it on the ground and those working to create effective policies.

Focus on clients.

“Always keep clients and consumers at the center of my work—their voices need to be loud!”

“Bring the impact of exclusion of older women and men from financial services onto the global development agenda.”

Breakdown of Postcard Commitments

Keeping consumers—and especially particularly excluded groups—at the center of all financial inclusion work was another important concept found throughout the commitments, with 17 participants focusing on the client perspective in their commitments. We at FI2020 are passionate about the need to keep clients and their needs at the heart of all financial inclusion efforts. The Addressing Client Needs working group looked at a few key areas, including metrics for client-centricity and designing smart products. We are also focusing on a few vulnerable client segments—youth, elderly, women, rural, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and migrants—that have unique financial needs. Stay tuned for more on each of these segments!

Set targets and strategies.

“Develop a financial inclusion strategy for my organization that provides a compelling business case to enable meaningful outcomes for the financially excluded and underserved.”

“Reach 20 million people by 2020 to empower them to change their lives as they see fit—through financial solutions and training.”

Developing specific financial strategies and targets was another popular commitment, comprising a quarter of commitments. While dozens of countries have made specific commitments through the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), many more countries have no plan for advancing financial inclusion within their borders. Several senior policymakers who attended the Global Forum left with firm commitments to establish national financial inclusion task forces, develop national strategies, and implement them. Beyond policymakers, private sector and microfinance leaders recognized the importance of developing financial inclusion strategies and setting targets within their own organizations.


“Test and implement new business models to scale financial capability development.”

“Take disruptive innovation risks to make change happen.”

The final theme among the postcard commitments to financial inclusion was innovation. We know we have a ways to go in finding effective ways to advance financial inclusion—developing new business models, approaches, services, and delivery mechanisms. The dedication of Global Forum participants and speakers to taking the big risks to advance financial inclusion was truly inspiring. Want proof? Just watch the session on spurring innovation in East Africa.

So, what’s your commitment to make financial inclusion a reality by 2020?

Have you read?

Encouraging “Active” Clients is Part of FI2020

Alex Counts: What I Learned at the FI2020 Global Forum

What Would I Do With a $10 Million Grant?

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