by: World Bank
Access to financial services varies sharply around the world. In
many developing countries less than half the population has an account
with a financial institution, and in most of Africa less than one in
five households do. Lack of access to finance is often the critical
mechanism for generating persistent income inequality, as well as
Finance for All?: Policies and Pitfalls in Expanding Access
documents the extent of financial exclusion around the world; addresses
the importance of access to financial services for growth, equity and
poverty reduction; and discusses policy interventions and institutional
reforms that can improve access for underserved groups. The report is a
broad ranging review of the work already completed or in progress,
drawing on research utilizing data at the country, firm and household
Given that financial systems in many developing countries serve only
a small part of the population, expanding access remains an important
challenge across the world, leaving much for governments to do.
However, not all government actions are equally effective and some
policies can be counterproductive. The report sets out principles for
effective government policy on broadening access, drawing on the
available evidence and illustrating with examples.
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