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Global Microscope 2015: the enabling environment for financial inclusion

The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit has published the 2015 Global Microscope, with the support of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), CAF, the Latin American Development Bank, the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and the MetLife Foundation.

The document analyses the regulatory framework for financial inclusion and the introduction of relevant public policies in 55 countries all over the world*, using 12 indicators** that measure regulations, public policies, supervisory systems, governmental capacity, infrastructure and economic stability, among others.

The Microscope first, presents the ranking of the countries analysed (0-100 points), together with data about how they have performed relative to 2014. The country with the top score this year is Peru (90 points), followed by Colombia (86 points) and the Philippines (81 points). It then goes on to give a general overview of financial inclusion world-wide, before focusing on the country-by-country breakdown.

Some of the most interesting conclusions at this global level:

(i) Financial inclusion across the world is experiencing a “slight positive drift”; favourable public policies have been adopted and existing ones are being applied with more rigour.

(ii)  Not enough attention has been paid to regulating the insurance market targeting low-income population groups, even though this is essential to achieve full financial inclusion.

(iii) The whole consumer protection is weak and insufficient attention is paid to over-indebtedness.

(iv)   Financial literacy has still not been tackled.

* East and South Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and Northern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

** Government support for financial inclusion, regulatory and supervisory capacity for financial inclusion, prudential regulation, regulation and supervision of credit portfolios, regulation and supervision of deposit-taking activities, regulation of insurance targeting low-income populations, regulation and supervision of branches and agents, requirements for non-regulated lenders, electronic payments, credit-reporting systems, market-conduct rules, grievance redress and operation of dispute-resolution mechanisms.