Cashless Technology One Piece of the Financial Inclusion Puzzle

By Eric Zuehlke, Web and Communications Director, Center for Financial Inclusion

The world is undergoing a profound demographic shift with big implications for the unbanked and underserved, according to the new CFI report, Looking Through the Demographic Window: Implications for Financial Inclusion. The report is part of our project, Mapping the Invisible Market, which sits within  Financial Inclusion 2020. Over the next year, Mapping the Invisible Market will examine forces that are instrumental in the world achieving full financial inclusion by 2020 including demographic change, economic growth, technology, and more.

Poorer countries are seeing lower birthrates and longer life expectancies, leading to larger working-age populations.  This opens a window for developing countries, where most of the world’s population lives.  But these people —  below age 15 and above 65  need access to quality education as well as economic and employment opportunities – and they need to be part of the financial mainstream .  

Increasing Life Expectancy                                                       Declining Fertility

Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision (New York: UN, 2010).

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A broad mix of strategies is needed. Cashless and mobile technology is giving access to millions now –lowering the cost of making payments and removing barriers to the formal financial system.  But we also need new savings, and health and life insurance products.   Access to credit is necessary to grow microenterprises; and financial education is critical to help people plan and deal with their own life stages.

Meeting future challenges will require cooperation from a number of different sectors.  The cost of failure to act for the world’s poorest countries is too high.

To learn more, check out the full report on our website.