Globally, two billion people are excluded from financial services. This limits people’s opportunities to manage their daily lives, cope with unexpected difficulties, develop their entrepreneurial skills, and plan for the future. Furthermore, between 14 and 20 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and emerging economies lack proper access to finance to start and grow. These businesses are firmly rooted in their communities, boost/spur entrepreneurship and play a key role in creating jobs and generating income.
These challenges make the need for financial inclusion evident. The call and urgency for financial inclusion is also embedded in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Not as a goal in itself, but as a powerful tool to attain many SDGs, such as affordable and clean energy, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, good health, and quality education. Financial inclusion is a cross-cutting theme that can enable achieving these goals.