Financial Inclusion refers to the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial products and services. This means that individuals and businesses have equal opportunity to accessing financial services that meets their demands such as payments, savings, investment and insurance delivered in a cost-effective way- this will be a key enabler to reduce poverty and boost wealth Creation in developing countries.
"sapaNO Finance is not only an enabler but the driving engine towards achieving financial Inclusion"
Financial inclusion targets those who are unbanked and underbanked, and directs sustainable financial services to them. According to Findex data, about one-third of adults are still unbanked.
The first step towards Financial Inclusion is being able to open/own a transaction account giving everyone the access to make payments, savings and investment. However, it goes beyond merely opening a bank account since it is possible for banked individuals to be excluded from financial services.
In 2018, it was estimated that about 1.7 billion adults lacked a bank account. Among those who are un-banked; a significant figure were women and poor people in rural areas and often those who are excluded from financial institutions, face discrimination and belong to vulnerable or marginalized populations.
The goal of financial inclusion is to remove all barriers such as supply side and demand side:
Supply side barriers: indicate poor financial infrastructure, and include lack of nearby financial institutions, high costs to open accounts, or documentation requirements.
Demand side barriers: individuals seeking financial services without proper knowledge and lack of financial capability that impact their financial decisions.
Evidence has shown that digital financial services can empower women to earn more, build assets and have proven to help give women greater control over their own finances, including safe, convenient, and discreet access to banking accounts. This greater financial power can increase gender equality and economic growth.
Financial Inclusion improves daily living standards thereby increasing productivity among households and businesses to plan for everything from long term goals to unexpected outcomes. So far 80% have access to account, people now rely on reforms and innovation to open low-cost accounts and bank with ease including mobile and digitally-enabled payments.
Technology-enabled innovations such as sapaNO Finance represent an opportunity to promote financial inclusion. Inclusive digital financial services refer to mobile money, online accounts, electronic payments, insurance and credit, combinations of them and newer financial technology (fintech) apps, which can reach people who were formerly excluded. Digital financial services can provide low-income households with access to affordable and convenient tools that can help increase their economic opportunities.