This past Sunday, the World Bank partnered with the government of Mexico to host “Financial Inclusion: from Principles to Action.” In addition to a high level opening plenary with H.R.H. Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade, the event included sessions on financial inclusion, the role of the private sector, financial literacy and consumer protection.
One of the most impactful happenings was the release of the World Bank’s Global Findex Database. In addition to accessible infographics to help explain the topic of the unbanked to those new to the field, the sites' e-Atlas enables users to create maps and data visualizations similar to those that NAF’s Global Assets Project has been engaged with and promoting, including analyses of global Payment Infrastructure and Infrastructure Utilization.
The Global Findex database covers 148 countries and is based on interviews with more than 150,000 adults. As Leora Klapper, Lead Economist of the Bank’s Development Research Group, outlined at the event, Findex has two particularly notable features:
- It used identical questions and harmonized methodologies in all 148 countries and with all participants, so the data is has collected can be compared across countries and populations.
- It surveyed individuals, not households, so the researchers have the ability to splice and study data based on individual characteristics, such as gender, income, age and education.
Findex's main indicators on formal accounts and credit will be updated annually, and all other indicators will be updated every three years (for two more cycles). This type of data will be essential to the work of NAF and its partners to better understand which interventions are helping to bank the poor, and in which contexts novel strategies must be devised to help aspiring households better manage erratic and unpredictable income streams.