The USAID Digital Finance Gateway provides our global partners and missions access to tools, resources and information that support the application of digital finance to address our most pressing development challenges.
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Why Financial Inclusion?
Financial inclusion means that formal financial services—such as deposit and savings accounts, payment services, loans and insurance—are readily available to consumers and that these consumers are actively and effectively using these services to meet their specific needs.
A recent study estimates that access to the Kenyan mobile money system, mPESA, increased per capita consumption levels, lifting 194,000 households out of poverty. The system also changed financial behavior—in particular, increased financial resilience and savings. Many people, especially women, also began moving out of agriculture and into business. Evidence also suggests that financial inclusion is a key driver to many of the Sustainable Development Goals resulting in positive outcomes across health, education, women's economic empowerment and more.
Payments as a Pathway to Financial Inclusion
For the world's poor, the seemingly simplistic function of paying or receiving payment within the confines of a safe and reliable digital infrastructure can mean the difference between sending a child to school or not, cancelling debts or losing assets, maintaining healthy levels of household consumption or straddling between periods of hunger.
USAID is reinforcing its commitment to digital payments with the Procurement Executive Bulletin (PEB) on Electronic Payments. The PEB makes electronic payment systems the default method of payment under all USAID awards. To facilitate this transition, USAID supported the design and development of the E-Payments Toolkit and Workshop.
Partnership for Public Investment
According to the 2014 Global Findex Database, countries that adopt financial inclusion strategies are reducing financial exclusion twice as fast as countries that haven't prioritized expanding access. USAID’s pledge to support national governments transition to electronic payments was born out of its commitment to the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a partnership USAID co-founded in 2012.
USAID continues to reaffirm the significance of public investment through its support of the Government of India's landmark financial inclusion initiative, Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), and the Financial Inclusion Forum in collaboration with the U.S. Treasury.