IMF’s 2014 Financial Access Survey Helps to Map Global Financial InclusionPress Release No. 14/425
September 16, 2014
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released today the results of the fifth annual Financial Access Survey (FAS), the most comprehensive global source of data on access to, and use of, basic consumer financial services by households and nonfinancial corporations. For the first time, the survey includes data on mobile money indicators. The 2014 FAS round was again conducted with financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, while the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding to capture data on the use of mobile money services.
The FAS provides geographic and demographic data worldwide, offering a strong quantitative underpinning to the theoretical literature linking financial inclusion and economic growth. The positive correlation between the increase in the use of commercial banks services (a measure of financial inclusion) and the increase in GDP per capita (a measure of economic growth) is especially noteworthy when comparing financial inclusion trends. Among African countries reporting data on commercial bank depositors, for instance, depositors per 1,000 adults experienced a five-fold increase from 2004 to 2013, while simultaneously achieving a 40-percent growth in real GDP per capita.
“Financial inclusion has gained prominence in the global discussion on growth and poverty reduction,” IMF Statistics Department Director Louis Marc Ducharme said. “We welcome the opportunity to be a global leader in providing much-needed data on an increasingly critical theme.”
The newly-expanded FAS is also capturing indicators on access to and use of mobile money services. Over the past decade, the emergence of ‘mobile money’–the practice of sending, receiving, and storing money using mobile phones–has improved the lives of populations that generally do not use commercial banks, even when access to more conventional banking models remained difficult.
The enhanced 2014 FAS provides a quantitative foundation to assess the transformational role of mobile money in financial inclusion. For example, the results of the 2014 FAS round for Kenya show a dramatic increase in the number of active mobile money accounts in recent years. In 2007, mobile money accounts represented just 30 percent of deposit accounts in commercial banks, but by 2009, they surpassed the number of commercial bank deposit accounts. At the same time, the number of mobile money transactions increased by more than 130 times, from close to 5.5 million in 2007 to more than 700 million in 2013.
The 2014 round had a response rate of over 95 percent, with 184 reporting jurisdictions. The overall coverage of the survey indicators increased further relative to the previous round. In addition, around 35 countries reported data on mobile money.
The FAS database contains 152 time series resulting in 47 key indicators that are grouped into two dimensions: (i) geographic outreach of financial services; and (ii) use of financial services. The database includes annual data and metadata for 189 jurisdictions, including all G-20 economies, covering a ten-year period (2004–2013).
To foster the use of a common methodology in the survey data, the definitions, types of institutional units, and financial instruments covered in the FAS are broadly consistent with the IMF’s Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual and its companion Compilation Guide.
The FAS is also an officially recognized data source for the G-20 Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators endorsed by the G-20 Leaders at the Los Cabos Summit in June 2012.