In 2015, the World Bank and 32 partners from the public and private sectors committed to achieving Universal Financial Access by 2020 (UFA2020).
The goal of UFA2020 is to provide every adult with an account which would let them store money and send and receive payments. After all, access to financial services improves quality of life for the world’s two billion ‘unbanked’, as they can plan for the future and take advantage of products like insurance and credit1.
The World Bank is focusing on 25 countries which are home to 73% of people who are financially excluded. The country with the highest percentage is India with 20.6% followed by China (11.6%), Indonesia (5.6%) and Pakistan (5.2%). You can find the full list of countries here.
While the World Bank pledged to invest $8 billion to support UFA2020, some of the biggest names in the financial industry are also backing the initiative. Visa and Mastercard both committed to reaching 500 million of the unbanked, and Equity Bank, a pan- African bank headquartered in Kenya, is targeting 50 million people in Africa alone.
In April of this year, the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), a trade body for the global mobile operator industry, announced it was teaming up with the World Bank to help advance the UFA2020 goal by supporting the creation of 500 million mobile money accounts.
“Mobile networks are playing an essential role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, enabling new ways to address longstanding development challenges” explained Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA in a press release announcing the partnership.Our commitment to support the creation of 500 million mobile money accounts reflects the scale of ambition needed to successfully close the global gap in access to financial services”.
As we discussed in a recent blog post, mobile money is growing exponentially. According to the GSMA’s ‘State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money’ published earlier this year, mobile money operators processed an average of 43 million transactions each day in 2016, while the number of registered mobile money accounts exceeded half a billion2. With smart phone ownership expected to hit 5.7 billion by 2020 and mobile broadband connections to increase to 73% of the total, there’s every reason to believe this trend will continue3.
The good news for expats all over the world is mobile money is one of the cheapest ways to transfer money overseas with an average cost of 2.86%4. Of course, with a global average cost of just 2%, Xpress Money is among the most competitively priced remittance services on the market. Find out more here.