RIYADH: Financial inclusion and its potential for unlocking economic opportunities and enabling development was on the agenda for a G20 meeting held recently in Riyadh.
According to The Global Findex Database 2017, there are about 1.7 billion unbanked adults worldwide. Those excluded from financial services are disproportionately young people and women. In addition, the SME financing gap is estimated to be $4.5 trillion.
The first G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) meeting was preceded by a seminar on the same subject.
There remain challenges in the field of financial inclusion despite significant progress over the past decade, according to a press statement about the meeting. The G20 GPFI is exploring how technological advancements can help bridge the gap in the number of young people and women with no access to banking services.
The G20 GPFI seminar was a one-day event that brought together speakers and attendees from G20 members and non-G20 countries, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, multilateral development banks, standard-setting bodies, as well as regional and international regulators, and private sector stakeholders.
In his opening remarks the Saudi co-chair of the G20 GPFI, Haitham Al-Ghulaiga, said: “The focus in 2020 will be to harness digital and innovative technologies to advance financial inclusion of youth, women and SMEs to unleash their full potential and contribution to economic growth in both advanced and emerging markets.”
Following the seminar, the Saudi G20 presidency presented its priorities and work program for the GPFI meeting, which focused on three areas: Advancing digital financial inclusion of youth, empowering women through digital financial inclusion, and promoting digital and innovative SME financing.
Saudi Arabia will host the G20 summit in November.