Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is financial inclusion and why is it important

"Financial inclusion or inclusive financing is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low income segments of society" is the way that Wikipedia describes this. (Read here). The estimate of the number of people that do not have access to digital financial services usually runs into the billions and many organisations are working diligently to provide some infrastructure to make this happen.

Many motivations for progressing towards a cashless society exists. Some people are talking about the elimination of poverty through financial inclusion. Much is being said and being written about how this will be achieved, but success are limited and usually comes at a big cost. Many organisations and companies sees this drive as an opportunity to profit - to get access to a much bigger market, and this drives many of the initiatives.

But why is financial inclusion really important? And why should we care? Is it worth the effort and the investment? If we are not clear about this, our efforts will be wasted.

I believe that the answer lies in a honest assessment of the real needs of the people that we are trying to "help". If we cannot put ourselves in their position and truly understand what will be a better world for them, we will not succeed.

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