News and Events

Improving the Odds of Being Formally Financially Included in Senegal - October 2016

A World Bank Nasikiliza Blog post by Siegfried Zottel

While most adults in developed countries have an account at a bank or another formal financial institution, this is not the reality in many developing countries, including Senegal. A recent World Bank Group (WBG) Financial Capability Survey revealed that less than one in five Senegalese adults (17%) report owning a formal account. While Senegal's financial inclusion levels are similar to those in other lower-middle income economies, the country lags behind the average inclusion rate among Sub-Saharan African economies. Why are nearly 6 million Senegalese adults financially excluded? To answer this question, it is important to understand that when it comes to being formally financially included, not everyone is on equal footing.
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Responsible Digital Payments Guidelines: Reducing the Risks that Come with the New Opportunities - July 2016

Better Than Cash Alliance - A guest post by Beth Porter & Ros Grady

From Peru to Rwanda to India, people, governments and businesses are increasingly making their payment transactions digitally, whether by mobile phone, by card or online. Technology has opened up opportunities to save time and money and to increase the convenience and security of making transactions. The new risks come along too and those who have been financially excluded or underserved, especially those with limited experience of technologies, may be the most vulnerable. In consultation with a broad range of government, industry, and civil society stakeholders, The Better Than Cash Alliance has developed the Responsible Digital Payments Guidelines to reduce some of the risks, especially for the most vulnerable. Read more »

Helping Mongolians Become Savvier in Managing Their Personal Finances - March 2016

A World Bank PSD Blog post by Siegfried Zottel

"Did you know that low-income Mongolians are better at managing daily finances than higher income earners, although those with better incomes are more likely to make provisions for the future?” These were the findings of a comprehensive demand-side assessment on financial capability in Mongolia which the World Bank Group carried out in 2013. The findings from the 2013 World Bank survey served as a catalyst for many stakeholders to commit to advancing financial capability in Mongolia. The first step was to formulate a national strategy on financial capability, which was officially launched in October 2015. It can be challenging for a country to develop an effective national financial capability strategy, but the Bank of Mongolia together with other stakeholders has done an excellent job in devising a strategy that targets the most pressing needs. Key lessons for how to develop a good national financial capability strategy were: It is important to prioritize; Strong leadership is a key foundation for the development of a national vision and strategy; Improving financial capability levels across the population needs a concerted effort; and A good communication outreach can make a difference. Read more »

Building Financial Capability in Rwanda

Rwanda's level of financial inclusion is fast increasing, propelled forward by ambitious targets and innovative policy and regulatory approaches. The 2008 and 2012 FinScope surveys showed that financial inclusion had doubled from 21 to 42 percent and the 2015 iteration is expected to show continued progress. But with such a large and rapid movement of adults into the formal financial sector, ensuring that the 'newly banked' are able to effectively and responsibly select and use financial products is critical. Read more »

Model Law in Financial Consumer Protection: An Important Driver for Universal Financial Access

The Client Protection Principles: Model Law and Commentary for Financial Consumer Protection (the "Model Law"), recently launched by the Microfinance CEO Working Group, is a useful resource for the many developing and emerging economies that seek to design and implement international best practices in financial consumer protection, a critical element in building and maintaining trust in the financial sector and achieving financial inclusion targets. The Model Law was prepared pro-bono by the international law firm DLA Piper on the basis of the 7 Client Protection Principles of the Smart Campaign. The project, managed by Accion on behalf of the Council of Microfinance Counsels, took place over a 15-month period and included consultations with financial inclusion stakeholders and legal experts who undertook a review of existing legal frameworks in various countries. Read more »

The GSMA Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers: Does It Go Far Enough to Protect Consumers?

In November 2014, the GSM Association launched the Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers "with the aim of establishing common business principles that all mobile money providers will commit to implementing". It is a welcome initiative for the growing digital financial services industry that is a key for achieving ambitious financial inclusion targets, such as the ones proposed by the World Bank, under the Maya Declaration and in other forums. The main objectives of the code are to improve quality of services and customer satisfaction while building trust among the industry, regulators, and consumers, and encouraging the implementation of appropriate and proportional regulatory standards. At the same time the G20 and Responsible Finance Forum have emphasized that consumer protection is a critical element in building trust in the use of digital financial services. However the key question is whether the Code goes far enough to protect consumer of financial services. Full story »

Morocco Financial Inclusion and Capability Demand-Side Survey

In response to a request from Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), the Morocco's central bank, the World Bank has conducted a Financial Capability and Inclusion Survey in Morocco. The survey provided key diagnostics to inform the design of the upcoming Morocco's National Strategy for Financial Inclusion, setting quantifiable and concrete targets, and assessing effectiveness of the various financial capability enhancing programs. So far, this survey of financial capability has been the first in Morocco and one of the very few in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The survey covered 4 main areas: Financial Inclusion, Financial Capability, Relationship between Financial Inclusion and Capability, and Financial Consumer Protection. The key findings are extensively addressed with actionable recommendations in the full version of the survey report. The survey received extensive press coverage in Morocco. Full Story »

Paraguay Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy Review

The WB is supporting the Government of Paraguay's broader efforts to increase financial inclusion in Paraguay, mainly through the development of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and the completion of a Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy (CPFL) Diagnostic. This work builds on recent policy actions and legislation enacted in Paraguay to enhance financial inclusion, such as the recently passed E-Money regulation, which was the object of a media interview with Douglas Pearce and Javier Suarez. The NFIS project began in 2013 with a demand-side survey on financial inclusion supported by the World Bank and implemented as part of the Gallup World Poll. The publication of the results of this survey was instrumental in building momentum around the financial inclusion agenda, as demonstrated by the extensive press coverage.

AFI Global Policy Forum - Financial Capability Measurement and Impact Evaluation

On 9 – 11 September, 2014, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), in cooperation with the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, hosted the 2014 AFI Global Policy Forum in Trinidad and Tobago. Siegfried Zottel participated in the Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct Working Group and presented on the importance of Financial Capability Measurement and Impact Evaluation (PDF, 3.8 MB), based on a recent WB publication entitled "Making sense of Financial Capability Surveys around the World". This report is intended for policy makers and regulators who prioritize financial inclusion and/or financial literacy, or who are introducing financial education strategies according to the high-level principles developed by the OECD/INFE and recently endorsed by the G20 leaders.

Zimbabwe Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy Review

From July 14 to 25, 2014, a World Bank mission conducted a Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy/Capability (CPFL) review of the laws, institutions and practices applicable to retail financial services in Zimbabwe. The banking, non-bank credit institutions, insurance, securities and pensions sectors were considered along with financial literacy/capability programs in Zimbabwe. As a second part of the review, four consumer focus group discussions were held. The mission attracted considerable media attention (PDF, 615 KB).


BulletFinancial Literacy & Education, Russia Trust Fund 2008-2013,
a partnership between the World Bank and OECD deepened understanding of financial capability and produced methodologies and tools to measure and evaluate it