Financial inclusion key to meeting Sustainable Development Goals: WEF panellists

DAVOS, May 25:  Financial inclusion is key to meeting several targets under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals but more than half of the world is yet to have equitable access to finance, which is a challenge, according to panellists at the WEF.

During a session on ‘Financial inclusion: Addressing the Largest Gaps’ at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands mentioned about the need for public and private stakeholders to fully understand the purpose of financial inclusion and evaluate how it can result in better financial health of an individual.

At the session, Abu Dhabi-headquartered Lulu Financial Holdings’ Managing Director Adeeb Ahamed cited the examples of India’s Aadhaar scheme and the UAE’s Wage Protection Scheme to emphasise the need for better traceability of consumer spending.

He noted that it was important to complement awareness about products suited to the needs of the under-served.

While digitisation has its inherent benefits, financial institutions should remember the emotional aspect at the grassroots level and bring in a personalised touch to their services to ensure last-mile consumers are onboarded efficiently, he added.

Financial inclusion remains the first step towards personal and business well being and is a pre-requisite to meet several goals under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, more than half the world is yet to gain equitable access to finance and this remains one of the biggest challenges, the panellists said, according to a release.

Karabo Morule of Capital Art, South Africa, talked about financial literacy as a key element of driving better use of access to finance.  (PTI)