Financial Inclusion survey and the informal economy

By | April 30, 2012


Gallup conducted the survey on behalf of the World Bank and their comprehensive synopsis available online (with links to the full report) offers a few more charts in addition to the map above. These look at bank account ownership among adults in different regions comparing rural to urban, genders as well as the reasons stated for not having one.

What I’d be interested in would be to map those resulting patterns against a comparative map of the percentage of the regional economy that was identified as “informal” – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a link there as well.

This is a map from 2001 using ILO data on the informal sector while given below is a more recent one which maps the percentage of the economy dependent on the informal sector.

I see a pattern that perhaps formal institutions such as those conducting this banking inclusion study are not able to, due to their preference, ideology and metrics for success. Still, Gallup concludes with:

Although half of adults worldwide do not have bank accounts, at least 35% of them report barriers to account use that public policy could address. Among the most commonly reported barriers to having bank accounts are high cost, physical distance, and lack of proper documentation, though there are significant differences across regions and individual characteristics. These barriers suggest that a key to reducing the gap in financial inclusion is the expansion of new processes, products, and technology, such as mobile banking, that can provide affordable and accessible banking services, particularly to the rural poor.

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