> Posted by Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director, CFI

Money changer at the bazaar displays his currency wares

The following post was originally published on Devex.

In his proposed budget, U.S. President Donald Trump is calling for cuts to foreign assistance. In this message I would like to suggest that even with a smaller foreign aid budget, an excellent opportunity exists to work toward financial inclusion as a development goal. Financial inclusion provides wins all around: for business, for national security and for individuals — and it would not be expensive for the administration to pursue it.

Financial inclusion means ensuring that everyone — farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, students, etc. — has quality financial services to manage their lives and become economically productive. Over 2 billion adults worldwide lack a bank account. Financial services, including accounts, savings and credit, have become a gateway for social and economical inclusion, which in turn contributes to prosperity and peace. For the first time in history, financial inclusion is actually feasible: mobile money, e-commerce and digital financial services make it possible for providers to serve enormous new segments of the population.

Financial inclusion could unite a wonderful array of U.S. resources around a common aim. As a dominant player in the world’s financial system, the U.S.’s actions already shape the path of global financial inclusion. American financial institutions are globally preeminent, from banks such as CitiBank and JPMorgan Chase to payments providers such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal. The American financial technology industry creates new ways for financial services to reach people, and American impact investors finance them. U.S. regulatory decisions ripple around the world.

To read the rest of this blog post, visit Devex.

Image credit: Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion

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