The Financing for Development Office works with the Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands to highlight the importance of financial inclusion within the context of the Financing for Development process.
Financial inclusion is universal access, at a reasonable cost, to a wide range of financial services, provided by a variety of sound and sustainable institutions. Inclusive finance strives to enhance access to financial services for both individuals and micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. In developing countries, access to financial services is crucial to strengthen financial sectors and domestic resource mobilization and can therefore make a significant contribution to social and economic development. Much more focus on the particular financial needs of women can have enormous impact, given the importance of women in food production and household expenditure decisions.
Efforts of the international community to increase financial inclusion have led to remarkable progress. The number of people worldwide having an account grew by 700 million between 2011 and 2014. 62 percent of the world’s adult population has an account; up from 51 percent in 2011. Three years ago, 2.5 billion adults were unbanked. Today, 2 billion adults remain without an account. This represents a 20 percent decrease.
The 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda calls on Member States to continue to build on recent progress on financial inclusion. In para 39 of the Addis Agenda, countries agree to consider financial inclusion as a policy objective in financial regulation. The Agenda includes a package of measures aimed at strengthening access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including through the use of development banks and innovative instruments It also acknowledges the importance of robust risk-based regulatory frameworks for all financial intermediation. At the same time, it notes that regulations change incentives, which can impact investment in sustainable development. The Agenda calls on countries to ensure that policy and regulatory environments support financial market stability and promote financial inclusion in a balanced manner.
Building on the Addis Agenda, the General Assembly, on 15 December 2015, adopted a resolution stressing the need for “full and equal access to formal financial services for all.”
For more information:
- GA resolution on “Financial inclusion for sustainable development” (A/RES/70/189)
- IATF report on financial inclusion: Chapter 2B: Domestic and international private business and finance (pp. 57-59)
- ECLAC project on financial Inclusion of SMEs
- Building Inclusive Financial Sectors for Development
- Addis Ababa Action Agenda (para. 39-40)
- Doha Declaration on Financing for Development (para. 17)
- Monterrey Consensus (para. 18)