New approaches to measuring financial inclusion

New approaches to measuring financial inclusion

19 May, 2017    

Financial inclusion has evolved from a grass-root microfinance movement in the 1980s to a mainstream item on the development agenda. Its increasing prominence is attested, amongst others, by the formation of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the recognition of financial inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals and the fact that 80-plus countries have signed the Maya Declaration, thereby committing themselves to financial inclusion targets.

The increasing prominence of financial inclusion as a tool for development and growth has spawned extensive data-gathering initiatives to measure, understand and improve it. The insights generated from this new data have deepened our understanding of how consumers interact with financial services and how they derive value from them. This moves us away from a one-dimensional view of financial inclusion as the percentage of adults who have a formal account.

The i2i facility was established as a resource centre to develop and test new measurement frameworks to effectively use data to assist the financial inclusion community to improve the value delivered by financial services for low-income households and nations.

Our measurement notes series documents our thinking in this regards. They are based on a scan of existing measurement frameworks in financial inclusion and a consultation process to understand the evolution of financial inclusion measurement to date and the key measurement needs. On this basis, we set our initial focus on the definition and measurement of usage of financial services towards underlying financial needs.

The series comprises the following measurement notes:

  1. Introduction to measurement frameworks. Defines and explains the concept of a measurement framework, its purpose and components.
  2. Determining our focus: A scan of the financial inclusion measurement field. Provides an overview of existing measurement frameworks and indicators in financial inclusion and explains the focus of i2i’s work in the field.
  3. Financial service usage: A conceptual model. Builds a conceptual model of financial service usage and the triggers and drivers thereof as a theoretical underpin to the work of i2i, on the hypothesis that actual usage, rather than mere uptake, is important for financial inclusion impact.
  4. Catering to every need: A measurement framework for functional financial service needs. Outlines a measurement framework for how financial service needs are revealed and met through financial service usage.
  5. Digging deeper: A measurement framework for depth of financial inclusion. Outlines a measurement framework for financial inclusion that considers the portfolio of financial devices taken up or used per person (termed ‘depth of financial inclusion’), in contrast to a one-dimensional focus on percentage of people reached.
  6. Making good use: A measurement framework for financial service usage. Unpacks the definition of usage, clearly demarcating it from uptake; lays out a set of principles for determining usage indicators and provides examples of how these manifest.

We are testing and refining these measurement frameworks with different partners to ensure they can assist market players and policymakers in achieving their financial inclusion objectives.

If you’re interested in providing feedback on the measurement series, partnering with us to test and refine these frameworks or learning more about our work, please email our Partnership Manager, Mari-Lise du Preez, at

Download Note 1 Size 452kb
Download Note 2 Size 447kb

Download Note 3 Size 605kb
Download Note 4 Size 575kb

Download Note 5 Size 462kb
Download Note 6 Size 539kb

insight2impact (i2ifacility) was funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. The programme was established and driven by Cenfri and Finmark Trust.

Similar Articles
Supporting the development of a digital finance index
Digital financial services are transforming global financial service provision and access. Rapid developments in fintech are disrupting and transfo...
Impact of remittances for recovery and resilience through digital and financial inclusion
In 2021, migrants’ remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) reached US$540 billion, onl...
Risks, harms and opportunities in data-driven technology for financial inclusion
How can data and data-driven technologies impact financial inclusion efforts in Africa? ...
Regulatory adaptation: The changing role of financial sector regulators
Considering the changing role of financial regulators and responses to innovation Inno...