Advancing economic inclusion means creating an economy that works for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, place of birth, family background, racial identity, age, ability, or other circumstances, over which they have no control. An inclusive economy ensures that all parts of society, especially poor or socially disadvantaged groups, have full, fair, and equitable access to market opportunities as employees, leaders, consumers, entrepreneurs, and community members.
IFC’s Economic Inclusion Program focuses on advancing the economic inclusion of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people. The Program does this through research and building the evidence base, generating ideas for investments, training and capacity building of IFC staff, clients, and partners, and creating opportunities for peer learning and networks of internal and external stakeholders such as other DFIs/MDBs to collaborate and share knowledge.
Persons with disabilities are critical to building stronger economies, and there is a business case for their inclusion. The disability market is larger than China — 1.85 billion people and $1.9 trillion in annual disposable income. Discrimination on the grounds of disability — including failure to ensure equal access to employment and financial services — not only violates universal human rights, but also harms business performance and economic growth.
Estimates suggest that the LGBTI population has a collective annual spending power of $3.9 trillion and that it could represent up to 10% of the global population. LGBTI people, however, make up a large segment of the bottom 40% of the global population earning an income and are currently underserved by the financial sector.