Browse by Theme: Financial Inclusion

At a session on financial inclusion at the European Development Days event last month, I gave a brief talk about research that CARE and Accenture are jointly conducting on the capabilities for financial inclusion of banks in developing countries. We have now looked in some detail at 30 banks in 12 countries, and compared them to a Financial Inclusion Maturity Model which we have developed. We will be publishing a summary of our research later this summer – but our first high level findings should be ringing alarm bells for banks in developing countries.

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Page updated 4 June 2015: read below the live updates from CARE’s European Development Day 2015 event in Brussels.

The event included an overview from facilitator Louise James (Global Programs Director, Accenture Development Partnerships), who introduced new research by CARE and Accenture which uncovers key trends in the role of banks in furthering financial inclusion in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on women living in poverty.

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The real challenge for the new Sustainable Development Goals is what happens after they are agreed. Deciding on the goals and targets is only the first step; backing them up with the commitment to implement them is crucial. The emerging consensus between the private sector, civil society, governments and multilateral agencies on the need for progress on economically empowering women is a positive sign. But how can business help make this ambition a reality?

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Financial inclusion has been a key part of CARE’s work for over 20 years. We’ve learned from an enormous number of programmes in dozens of countries that giving women access to savings is an essential first step in their economic empowerment. The next step is accessing formal financial services – a win-win that banks the unbanked while opening up new markets and providing new customers for banks. But are banks making the most of this opportunity?

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A ground-breaking piece of development progress was marked last month when the World Bank updated its financial inclusion database and revealed that in the last three years alone, the number of people worldwide who have an account grew by 700 million, bringing the number of unbanked individuals down to 2 billion. The speed and scale of progress is staggering.

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Promoting gender equality is a core belief of the Cocoa Life programme. For years we have been working with partners including humanitarian organisations like CARE International to implement programmes that empower women in cocoa communities, writes Cathy Pieters, Global Director of Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International.

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