Four key areas to improve digital financial inclusion

Philippines shows most progress in new Brookings research.

A new Brookings Institution report has found four priority areas for governments to advance financial inclusion. First, governments have to set specific, measurable target to achieve financial inclusion. “ Quantifiable goals can drive country commitments and policy changes,” says the 2016 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Report. Second, Governments, international bodies, NGOs and industry need to collect better data on the use of financial services, and share this data internationally. A lack of data limits the ability to identify what works and why, it says. Third, Regulators should engage with the private sector to develop and refine regulations, it added. This can help level the playing field for providers and ensure customers’ rights are protected. Fourth, governments must help citizens understand what financial services are available and how these can be useful to them. The report studied 26 developing countries across the world. Philippines has made the “biggest improvement” in providing access to finance. The country ranked scored the best in Asia too with 76% overall. The increase was credited in part to the country’s commitment to launching a national financial inclusion strategy. Philippines also has a high rate of smartphone use, the report found. It scored 58% for adoption of traditional and digital financial services. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Indonesia received a score of 71%, supported by high mobile use. It had a lower adoption of financial services, however, receiving a score of 47%. Vietnam was scored 61% overall. It got a 50% score for adoption, but a lower 78% for mobile use and 61% for government commitment. Image by Shubert Ciencia, licensed under CC BY 2.0