New Research Demonstrates Financial Access Improves Lives of Consumers in Eight Countries across Africa and Asia

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Data Released Today by InterMedia Shows Even Incremental Gains Can Lead to Fundamental Change Economically

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Financial access gives poorest consumers the tools to take control of their money

Improving access to financial services contributes to well being across the economic spectrum according to new data released today by InterMedia, an independent global strategic research and evaluation consultancy. In-depth research in eight key developing countries suggests that financial inclusion leads to better financial planning and security among those both above and below the poverty line.

The eight countries examined in the annual study are Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

“Financial access gives poorest consumers the tools to take control of their money. Two years into this research, we are seeing changes specific to each country. Our new data shows Mobile Money usage increasing in Uganda and registered use up in Bangladesh, while bank use has increased in Tanzania, Nigeria and India,” said InterMedia President and CEO Christopher J. Fleury, PhD. “Within any 12 month period change can be incremental, but when you step back and look at the financial situation in these countries you see fundamental positive change in people’s lives through inclusion in the financial system.”

The data being reported is part of InterMedia’s Financial Inclusion Insights (FII) Project, which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study contains detailed surveys on banking, mobile phone and mobile money usage, behavior and perceived need and are conducted annually in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. The 2015 data release marks the second time the survey has been conducted. InterMedia is currently planning to begin another round of research in the field next month.

“Progress out of poverty is our common goal. Our research demonstrates that when people are connected to financial institutions and services they can better support themselves and their family,” said Colleen Learch, InterMedia’s Director of Research. “We’ve seen up-close through our research that when you give people the tools of financial independence, they achieve greater individual stability. That results in economic prosperity for a community.”

The findings were presented in a half-day conference on May 7 themed “Financial Access and the Developing World: Mobilizing Consumer Insights for Market Action” – which included presentations from InterMedia’s Research team and a panel discussion featuring three global economic development and financial inclusion leaders:

  •     Paul Breloff, Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab
  •     Alex Counts, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation
  •     Kay McGowan, Digital Finance Lead and Senior Policy Advisor at USAID

The InterMedia data highlights the importance of targeting inclusion efforts to the needs of key demographic groups. The research points to the different challenges faced depending on factors including gender, occupation, literacy, income and urban or rural settings. By spending months each year monitoring interviews in the field and conducting qualitative research, InterMedia weaves together and analyzes the data of the consumer’s story based on the facts provided by rigorous survey research. You can view the full research, including infographics and analysis online here.

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InterMedia (http://www.intermedia.org) is a global research consultancy that partners with mission-driven organizations seeking to make an impact in people’s lives around the world. The InterMedia team gives clients the data and tools they need to help them understand, engage and positively impact the key groups and societies they care about. InterMedia offers a full range of research and analysis, consulting and fieldwork management to strengthen development initiatives, measure social investments and enhance consumer engagement. InterMedia’s quantitative and qualitative research and mixed-method evaluations have engaged well over 2 million respondents in more than 120 countries. InterMedia is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has an office in Nairobi.

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Kristofer Eisenla
Luna Eisenla Media
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