On 10 November 2015, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) launched the sixth annual report on Inclusive Finance for Development. The report details progress, priorities and the future of inclusive financing.
Inclusive Finance is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. It is reported that an estimated 2 billion working-age adults globally have no access to the types of formal financial services delivered by regulated financial institutions.
Message from H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development:
This has been a landmark year for the financial inclusion movement—a year in which we have learned that work begun a decade ago is paying off on a global scale.
Close to three-quarters of a billion people have gained access to financial services since 2011. This remarkable statistic, from an extraordinary new data set called the Global Findex, testifies to the unflagging efforts of visionary individuals and organizations working to provide the poor and the marginalized with the financial tools they need to overcome hardship and improve their lives.
I offer congratulations and my deepest gratitude to those who have contributed to this progress. I hope we can gain inspiration from our success because the critical work ahead will not be easy. Two billion people remain outside the formal financial system and significant disparities persist: between women and men, young and old, rural and urban populations, and across geographic regions.
This year I saw these challenges—as well as the impact of progress—up close across Asia. Financial inclusion is not an end itself–it’s a means to an end, a powerful tool that can enable people like Zhou Guozhi, a tomato farmer I met in rural China, to achieve their dreams. Thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit and careful investments, supported by her first ever loan from a microfinance institution, she has transformed a nascent greenhouse operation into a thriving business. She now employs 13 villagers, her husband works for her, and she’s placed her family on stable financial footing.