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700 million new accounts since 2011: The World Bank’s 2014 Global Findex findings

Photo credit: Findex 

The Global Findex is the world’s most comprehensive database on financial inclusion and is based on interviews with about 150,000 adults in over 140 countries. In this blog, Dr Leora Klapper, Lead Economist of the World Bank Development Research Group,  who co-authored 2014 Global Findex, highlights a major opportunity to increase access to formal financial services: governments digitizing payments and transfers. Governments digitizing has contributed to the number of “unbanked” individuals dropping by 20 per cent since 2011 to 2 billion adults. Browse through the Findex data here

Photo credit: AFP / Prakash Mathema

How to support BTCA’s newest member - Nepal

Nepal joined the Better Than Cash Alliance to mature into an emerging economy. But tragically, the powerful earthquake which struck the Himalayan nation a week ago has caused devastation. Many members of the Better Than Cash Alliance, including UNCDF, are supporting the Government of Nepal and its people. You can contribute to the appeals launched by WFP, USAID, Care, Catholic Relief Services, UNDP and Mercy Corps, who are all on the ground in Nepal.  In addition, MasterCard and Visa are supporting some Alliance members to help with the recovery efforts. 

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Inclusive digital payments ecosystem convening in Malawi

Malawi took a significant step towards creating a digital payment ecosystem to address poverty and drive inclusive growth. Digital payments players came together at an event organized by the Government of Malawi with the UN Capital Development Fund’s Better Than Cash Alliance and the Mobile Money for the Poor Initiative. 

The World Food Programme is looking for a global solution for easy, secure and electronically traceable cash services

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency reaching 90 million people in 81 countries. It is looking for qualified service providers who can provide WFP with a comprehensive solution for Electronic Cash-Based Transfers. These providers can include but not be limited to Financial Service Providers, Payment Providers and Mobile Service Providers. Please express your interest by completing the request of information before 5 June. 

Photo credit: Ripple Labs

An infrastructure approach to improving financial inclusion

The Ripple protocol is an example of a new payment infrastructure technology available as a public good. The protocol enables low-cost connectivity and allows financial institutions to support underserved communities in a cost-efficient manner. It is an open protocol that financial institutions and payment networks can implement for domestic and cross-border settlement. Read more about how the Ripple protocol works in this blog.

Photo credit: Better Than Cash Alliance 

The opportunities for Malawi’s transition away from cash 

Malawi released an in-depth analysis of the country’s readiness to transition from a nearly cash-only economy to one where digital payments are widely available through an ecosystem approach. This diagnostic by the Better Than Cash Alliance and the Government of Malawi details the state of Malawian digital payments in 2013, providing an important baseline to track progress. The study also identifies four potential opportunities for Malawi, including advances by the Government to digitize payments with support from financial services providers.

Federal Reserve strategies for improving the U.S. payment system

According to the Federal Reserve’s recent paper, “Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System”, the U.S. payment system is at a critical juncture in its evolution as technology is rapidly changing many elements that support the payment process. It states that the five desired outcomes of the U.S. Payment system are 1. speed 2. security 3. efficiency 4. international and 5. collaboration. It now seeks a collective effort by all stakeholders to achieve these outcomes. As this has the potential for positive impact on emerging economies, we welcome this initiative.

Join Women’s World Banking’s campaign #BankOnHer, to remind the world that financial inclusion must include women. 

Photo credit: Women's World Banking

World Bank Group and a coalition of partners made commitments to accelerate universal financial access by 2020. View the detailed commitments here

This report on the gender gap in financial inclusion by ‪Anjani Trivedi  has sparked a debate at the ‪WSJ. Jump in with ‪#WSJInclusion. 

How ready is your country for digital money? Find out here.

Mobile Money for the Poor, with support from The MasterCard Foundation, will expand digital financial services in Senegal .

Leora Klapper from the World Bank Findex: Gender gap holds back development.  

Register for the May 7 event of InterMedia when financial inclusion findings from eight countries will be presented. Take a sneak peek here.

Request an invite for the Payments Innovation Summit, San Francisco, June 11–12, 2015.

Third International Conference on Financing for Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-16 July 2015.

Do you have experience working with the private sector on payments and  technology in emerging economies? Apply for our new position by 9 May

Send call for proposals for the Global Forum on Remittances and Development Awards 2015 by 8 May. Register for the Forum by 15 May. 

Apply to partner with CGAP to improve the uptake and use of financial services by poor and underserved people. Deadline is 20 May. 

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