The World Bank Group has added 16 new partners to the coalition of institutions that are committed to help achieve Universal Financial Access (UFA) by the year 2020. These new partners, in addition to the 14 that were announced at the 2015 Spring Meetings, bring to the coalition a deep knowledge of the marketplace, a proven ability to innovate, and a commitment to financial inclusion as a core component of their corporate missions.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, hosted an event at which the new partners pledged their commitments. IFC is working to boost its engagement with the private sector to add millions of new account holders through its investment and advisory work with financial intermediaries and other partners. New IFC and World Bank projects are projected to reach 641 million unbanked adults by the year 2020, and they continue to scale up and broaden operations to reach 1 billion adults with transaction accounts by the year 2020.
“Achieving Universal Financial Access is critical to fulfilling our goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, because it helps create opportunity for everyone to participate in and benefit from the global economy,” said IFC’s EVP and CEO Phillipe le Houérou “We are making dramatic progress. “These partnerships help us learn from each other and explore how to scale up successful initiatives that will increasingly benefit the large number of people who are financially excluded.”
“The World Bank welcomes these strong new commitments,” said Gloria Grandolini, Senior Director, Finance and Markets Global Practice, World Bank Group. “As a leading global partner for national authorities – helping them provide enabling frameworks for private-sector innovation and investment to expand financial access and inclusion – the World Bank will continue to scale up our support to governments, financial regulators and financial-services providers.”
The new partners are large regional players across the globe, enabling them to work toward the deepening of financial access and the opening of new markets and opportunities for innovation and inclusion. In particular, it includes partners in China for the first time, as well as Latin America both key focus areas.
The UFA 2020 goal – recognizing financial access as a basic building block to managing an individual’s financial life – aims to provide all adults worldwide with access to a transaction account or an electronic instrument to store money and to send and receive payments. Access to a transaction account is a first step toward broader financial inclusion, which helps poor families escape poverty and afford such essential social services as water, electricity, housing, education and health care. Access to financing can help small firms and medium-sized enterprises reduce risks, invest for growth and expand operations.