INCLUSIVITY

Pursue total adult banking to foster economic recovery - WB

The global lender reveals that there is 1.4 billion unbanked adults worldwide.

In Summary
  • Bank account ownership has reached 76 per cent of the global population and 71 per cent of people in developing countries.
  • When the rate of personal savings is high, economic recovery tends to be faster.

The World Bank has urged countries to get their adults banked to increase financial resilience.

This as the global lender reveals that there is 1.4 billion unbanked adults worldwide.

“Increasing the number of banked adults is not only crucial for an individual well-being but also important at the national level. When the rate of personal savings is high, economic recovery tends to be faster,” World Bank says in a report.

According the World Bank, bank account ownership has reached 76 per cent of the global population and 71 per cent of people in developing countries. It is advocating for a 100 per cent ownership by 2030.

Gender inclusive in accessing of banking services has been improving in the past decade.

It has seen the gap in account ownership across developing economies fall to six per cent points from a nine percentage point. This had hovered for many years.

The lender is asking economies to ride on the digital wave to increase access to banking services to spur saving culture with the aim of boosting GDP growth and cut debt dependency.

Several countries in Africa have brought banking services closer to people with almost 80 per cent of bank transactions conducted digitally.

Kenya is among the top five countries that have made significant progress in digital finance.

The lender’s Global Findex shows that 79 per cent of Kenyan adults now have an account either at a bank, other financial institution or with a mobile money provider.

It attributes the financial inclusion rate to the success of mobile money in making financial services easily accessible to the unbanked population.

As of last year, the country’s banked population stood above the global average of 76 per cent.

The report also notes globally, that account ownership increased by 50 per cent in the past 10 years spanning 2011 to 2021.

The lender hereby notes that the idea of savings helping out in a tough economy isn't an earth-shattering revelation.

“You might be surprised to find out just how much a high savings rate can speed up an entire country's economic recovery even in most unpredictable circumstances,” World Bank says.

Kenya’s financial services account ownership has been lauded to be in the same range as Brazil, China, Russia, and Thailand.

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