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If you can’t count it, then it doesn’t count.

If you can’t count it, then it doesn’t count.

“Financial inclusion matters not only because it promotes growth, but because it helps ensure prosperity is widely shared. Access to financial services plays a critical role in lifting people out of poverty, in empowering women, and in helping governments deliver services to their people”.

  • Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Indonesian Economist/ Minister of Finance

Everyone needs money, just like everyone needs financial services, and there are no two ways about it. We need it in securing the necessities of life right after we come into this world, and we would continue needing it right before we leave, simply because that money/ the aforementioned service are meant to serve the purpose of us escaping a life of poverty. But as we speak, not everyone has money, or rather, not everyone is in possession of the financial services needed to escape said poverty – and that’s where the problem lies.

As said by the World Bank, an estimated 2 billion working-age adults don’t have access to the types of financial services delivered by financial institutions globally. And just in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, only 24% of adults have a bank account, – even though Africa’s financial sector has grown in recent years. So, the question now is not “how do we resolve the aforementioned figures short term”, but is on “how we resolve the aforementioned figures long term”. And for me, we can only do that through financial inclusion. So, what is that per se?

Financial inclusion or inclusive financing is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to the lower class or less privileged in society. Its goal simply is to eradicate financial exclusion, by identifying those factors which hinder people from improving their livelihoods, and also at businesses from performing at their maximum. Furthermore, the United Nations defines financial inclusion as:

  • Having access at a reasonable cost for all households to a full range of financial services
  • Having sound and solid institutions governed by clear regulation and industry performance standards
  • Having financial and institutional sustainability, in order to ensure continuity and certainty of investment; and lastly
  • Having competition to ensure choice and affordability for clients.

So, in summary, when I say that everyone needs to be financially included, I’m simply saying that everyone needs to know what options they have in order to improve their lives – from a financial perspective. Financial services come in all shapes and sizes – as provided by the finance market- and everyone needs to be up to date with them. An example of some provided by the banking sector include business loans, savings or deposit services, payment and transfer services, and finally, credit/ insurance. So, in conclusion, everyone needs to be able to have access to these services because if people don’t have/ can’t count the services at their disposal, then it doesn’t count, as there’s a strong possibility that they would still be entrenched in lifetime poverty.  

COGNITY ADVISORY

So, at Cognity, we’ve realised that one of the key ways of eradicating institutionalised poverty is to enable all households and businesses; irrespective of income level, have access to and effectively use the appropriate financial services they need to improve their lives.

Through this factor, we aim to offset financial exclusion via the poor, by developing appropriate financial products for them and increasing awareness on available financial services out there.

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