Greta Bull Puts Financial Inclusion Into Context
In episode two of our series Financial Inclusion & Beyond, we spoke with Greta Bull, the chief executive officer of CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and a director at the World Bank. Greta is an expert in development finance, primarily focused on small and medium enterprise finance, microfinance, and digital financial services.
We sat down to discuss the history of financial inclusion efforts and the evolution of the financial inclusion movement, the micro and macro effects of inclusion, and lessons learned from various efforts around the globe. Key takeaways from the discussion include:
- While global inclusion efforts have taken different paths, they all seem to be converging at the ‘platformization’ of financials services. The modern financial inclusion movement evolved from microfinance in the 1970s and 80s in countries like Bangladesh and reached scale with the creation of digital credit by the mobile network operator (MNO) M-Pesa in Kenya in 2008.
- Today, fintechs and banks have been competing across a disaggregated landscape of financial services and are moving to new platforms that offer a range of competing services to the public.
- Financial inclusion has traditionally meant the inclusion in formal financial systems of poor people in emerging markets. Effectively done, it provides access to financial services to people who previously didn’t have them; establishes a viable and reliable alternative to working entirely with cash; and adds value to people’s lives.
- Financial inclusion can significantly improve individuals lives. Efforts over the past decade have been effective in bringing 1.2 billion individuals into the formal financial system, but 1.7 billion remain excluded. There is still work to do, both in expanding and deepening inclusion and harnessing these efforts to expand global growth.
Please note that the initial interview was recorded prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.