Man trading stocks online

A Banker’s Revolution

Financial regulators are generally known for taking a measured and cautious approach to change. But in the developed world, that reputation is being turned upside down, as central bankers embrace innovative approaches in their quest to broaden participation in the formal financial system.

KUALA LUMPUR – Financial regulators are generally known for taking a measured and cautious approach to change. But in the developing world, that reputation is being turned upside down. In some of the world’s poorest countries, central bankers have proved willing to make bold decisions – embracing innovative approaches in their quest to broaden participation in the formal financial system, increase financial stability, and put their countries on the path to inclusive, sustainable economic growth.

Increasing financial inclusion requires fundamentally rethinking how a country’s financial system is structured and operates. It also frequently necessitates the use of instruments outside of the central bankers’ traditional toolkit. In Kenya, for instance, officials altered the regulatory framework to allow for the growth of mobile money. In Malaysia, the central bank took a lead role in raising the public’s level of financial literacy. And in the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas helped double the number of access points where consumers could obtain financial services, supporting the opening of 517 micro-banking offices, many of them in municipalities with no traditional bank branches.

Likewise, in 2011, the Bank of Tanzania made a specific commitment to increase financial inclusion under the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Maya Declaration, a commitment by policymakers in the developing world to unlock the social and economic potential of the poor. The result was dramatic and vastly exceeded expectations. Tanzania reached its goal of providing 50% of its adult citizens with access to banking a year ahead of schedule, making the country a global leader in digital financial services. As in neighboring Kenya, the game changer was the widespread adoption of mobile money. “It may sound maverick,” said Benno Ndulu, the bank’s governor. “But we must let innovation run ahead of regulation.”

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/3JEx3cW;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.