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IMF notes mobile money accounts growth in low-income economies

THE IMF says the number of mobile money accounts in a low-income economy is more than twice the number of bank accounts per 1,000
adults. And the IMF reveals that some countries have made significant progress towards greater financial inclusion of women.
According to the IMF’s 2018 Financial Access Survey (FAS), mobile money growth has continued across regions.

“The 2018 FAS suggests that low-income countries are leading the way in mobile money adoption. On average, the number of mobile money accounts in a low-income economy is more than twice the number of bank accounts per 1,000 adults. While Africa continues to lead the mobile money revolution, other regions are not far behind. In countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Guyana, mobile money services are growing fast in terms of both the number of accounts and transactions,” the IMF indicated.
The IMF adds that the 2018 FAS expands to include data on non-branch retail agent outlets.

“This year’s FAS pioneers a new dataset on non-branch retail agent outlets – a form of branchless banking which entails offering basic financial services through retail stores, post offices or small businesses. Retail agent outlets allow banks to penetrate areas and reach “last- mile” customers not reached by traditional “brick-and-mortar” bank branch networks. The data suggests that retail agent outlets are widespread in South Asia and Latin America, with countries like Mexico, Colombia and Maldives showing fast growth,” the IMF added.
On gender financial equality, the IMF’s 2018 FAS mainstreamed gender-disaggregated data suggests varied progress on closing the financial inclusion gender gap FAS data shows that although financial inclusion gender gaps remain. The IMF has called for a need to study the factors contributing to the closing of the gender financial gap

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