> Posted by Sonja E. Kelly, Fellow, CFI

Remember when you were young, and a sandbox presented an opportunity to build your own castle? The GPFI (the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion) Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators and its accompanying website is kind of like that—it offers a space in which users can customize and test their own definitions of financial inclusion through an interactive platform, building off of a set of key “ingredients” in the data world.

We’ve talked before about the GPFI’s “Basic Set,” but we wanted to be sure to highlight it again, given the attention that it has received over the past few weeks alongside its official release on April 21 at the 2013 World Bank Spring Meetings.

In offering this service, the GPFI addresses one of the biggest challenges in financial inclusion: measurement. We all seem to have a general definition of financial inclusion, but when it comes to operationalizing this definition, things get complicated. Should the use of financial services be an individual or a household measure? How can we parse out (and should we parse out) financial tools used for businesses from tools used for personal things? Are surveys run by international organizations the best source of data or are numbers reported by central banks more reliable? The Basic Set remains fairly agnostic on these questions, instead giving highlights from all of the data—SME, personal, supply-side, demand-side, international organization-led, and government-reported.

See, for example, the diversity of indicators in the GPFI Basic Set as applied to sub-Saharan Africa. “Accounts” includes a demand-side (individual) measure of accounts, SME accounts, and both measures for women in particular.

The recent explosion of data in the financial inclusion space can make it difficult to know where to go for the numbers you need. The GPFI, however, puts all of the data into one central location. Within the platform, you can download the visualizations, share indicators, and download and save the data (all using the World Bank’s DataBank platform).

Most importantly for those of us who cannot seem to get enough data on financial inclusion, this Basic Set will be giving rise to a more robust set of financial inclusion indicators, including nuanced data specific to certain country contexts, financial inclusion regulations, and more. So watch this “sandbox”—there is more to come!

For an overview of the Basic Set, click here. To explore the data, visit the GPFI here.

Image credit: GPFI

Have you read?

Adventurers, Unite: Voyaging Through Data in Our Mapping the Invisible Market Website

Measuring Financial Inclusion: The “Basic Set” Solution

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