The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion together with MasterCard today launched Mapping the Invisible Market, a major research initiative as part of the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign.
Additionally, the organizations launched an interactive website that provides data visualizations to bring the research to life.
Mapping the Invisible Market will consist of a series of research papers looking at how demographics, income, urbanization, and other issues affect financial inclusion, at a time when over 2 billion people don't use formal financial services. The first report, Looking Through the Demographic Window, details how profound demographic shifts in the developing world have implications for how people can save, invest, or transfer money. For example:
Over the next decade, 68% of the world's population growth will be in less developed countries. These countries are poised for economic growth - but they must invest in financial inclusion if all their citizens are to take part.
These less developed countries are also aging. In 1950, 1 in 20 people worldwide was elderly; by 2050 it will be 1 in 5. Financial inclusion policy makers should consider the great need for savings to carry people through their later years.
"Now is a time of innovation in extending financial services to low income, underserved communities. MasterCard is exploring many creative possibilities and turning their ideas into operating partnerships around the globe. That's why we're so excited to be working with them," said Elisabeth Rhyne, Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and a co-author of the report. "Countries at different demographic stages need to focus on financial inclusion policies that fit their demographic profile. They should promote solutions that address the major life events facing their key population segments."
"We're thrilled to be partnering with The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. With half of the world's population still excluded from the formal economy, collaboration between development practitioners and businesses is critical. As we move towards a world beyond cash, we need to leverage technology and education programs that can drive real inclusion and empowerment," said Patricia Devereux, Group Head, Corporate Philanthropy and Citizenship at MasterCard.
The accompanying website will also include findings from the following papers:
- Growing Income, Growing Inclusion: How rising incomes at the base of the pyramid will shape financial inclusion.
- The effect of urbanization: Examines how urbanization affects those who are and are not in the financial mainstream
And two tools will allow users to customize the information to their own interests:
- Data Explorer: a dashboard that displays the information from over 80 indicators and geographic areas in bar charts, bubble graphs and maps.
- Country Profiles: allows users to explore any country or region's financial inclusion and demographic profiles.