Washington, DC, April 18, 2017 — The
World Bank Group today welcomed the GSMA, the global body representing
nearly 800 mobile operators and 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem,
to its coalition of partners committed to achieve Universal Financial Access
(UFA) by the year 2020. The GSMA brings to the coalition a deep knowledge
of mobile financial services, a proven ability to innovate, and a commitment
to financial inclusion as a core component of its mission. In this context,
the GSMA has pledged to support the creation of 500 million mobile money
accounts over the course of the UFA initiative.
Some 2 billion working-age adults globally
do not use formal financial services and extending access to finance to
them is the first building block to build a better life. The World Bank
Group – the World Bank and IFC – has committed to enabling 1 billion
people to gain access to a transaction account through targeted interventions
and expanding their network of partners to boost financial inclusion.
“The GSMA is pleased to announce its commitment
to the Universal Financial Access initiative. Mobile networks are playing
an essential role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, enabling
new ways to address longstanding development challenges,” said Mats Granryd,
Director General, GSMA. "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. We
look forward to working closely with the World Bank Group and its UFA partners
to ensure the conditions exist so that inclusive services, such as mobile
money, can reach new heights."
“It is great news that the GSMA is helping
to close the gap in access to mobile phones - and mobile money accounts.
This will be instrumental in bringing financial services to rural communities,”
said Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer for the World Bank.
“The private sector brings the kind of innovation and investment needed
to connect the remaining 2 billion people currently left out of the financial
Speaking at an event today for private sector
partners committed to the UFA goal, Martin Holtmann, Manager for IFC’s
Micro Digital Group said, “Achieving universal access is an ambitious
goal – and one that can only be achieved with strong partnerships. It
requires traditional financial institutions, telecommunication and technology
firms to work together. Digital and mobile technology can bring financial
services to millions of people currently not included in the formal financial
system, more easily and cheaply than traditional banking.”
The 32 UFA partners represent a cross-cutting
network of banks, payment and technology companies, telecommunication firms,
microfinance institutions, regulators, and industry associations. Recognizing
that access points, products, and services are increasingly diverse, UFA
partners deepen reach in key markets, leveraging a range of business models
IFC is working to boost its engagement with
the private sector to add millions of new account holders through its investment
and advisory work with financial intermediaries and other partners. Existing
IFC and World Bank operations are projected to help reach 656 million new
account holders by 2020, keeping the institution on track toward the overall
goal of enabling access to those who are currently unbanked.
The UFA 2020 goal – recognizing financial
access as a basic building block to managing an individual’s financial
life – aims to provide all adults worldwide with access to a transaction
account to store money and to send and receive payments. Access to a transaction
account is a first step toward broader financial inclusion, which helps
poor families escape poverty and afford such essential social services
as water, electricity, housing, education and health care. Access to financing
can help small firms and medium-sized enterprises reduce risks, invest
for growth and expand operations.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s
largest sources of funding and development expertise for developing countries.
It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development
Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International
Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
(MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
(ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in pursuing the World Bank
Group’s mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people
in the developing world.For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org,
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is
the largest global development institution focused on the private sector
in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our
six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most.
In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly
$19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the
private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.