We are pleased to present this report, which highlights IFC’s progress in Access to Finance advisory services.
Financial inclusion has emerged as a prominent topic on the international development agenda. Widely recognized as much more than credit, financial inclusion means that a range of financial products and services are accessible for everyone needing them, in a fair, transparent, and cost-effective manner by a diversity of sound and sustainable institutions.
IFC’s Access to Finance Advisory focuses on increasing and improving financial access, by targeting both financial institutions and the broader financial infrastructure. Over the past year, IFC helped support and shape the G20 global financial inclusion agenda that calls for the promotion of a range of financial services beyond credit–including payments, savings, remittances, and insurance.
Our advice helps financial institutions reach micro, small, and medium enterprises and helps develop financial infrastructure such as credit bureaus, payment systems, and collateral registries. At the end of FY10, we had an active portfolio of 238 projects in 68 countries, valued at almost $290 million. Our projects help people in some of the world’s poorest markets including those affected by conflict. In FY10 our project expenditures totaled over $50 million, of which 50 percent were in International Development Association (IDA) countries and 14 percent in fragile and conflict-affected countries.
These projects address some of the most essential challenges to sustainable development–supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises to hire more workers, access equipment, and be more productive; allowing poor and disadvantaged people to keep more money for uses like paying for education; and building institutions and legal environments where people and businesses can access financial services affordably and transparently.
Our services are delivered on the ground through regional offices with more than 130 dedicated staff. We also coordinate our work with the World Bank to deliver policy advice and joint interventions.