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Purva Khera, Miss Stephanie Y Ng, Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, and Ms. Ratna Sahay
Digital financial services have been a key driver of financial inclusion in recent years. While there is evidence that financial inclusion through traditional services has a positive impact on economic growth, do the same results carry over for digital financial inclusion? What drives digital financial inclusion? Why does it advance more in some countries but not in others? Using new indices of financial inclusion developed in Khera et. al. (2021), this paper addresses these questions for 52 developing countries. Using cross-sectional instrument variable procedure, we find that the exogenous component of digital financial inclusion is positively associated with growth in GDP per capita during 2011-2018, which suggests that digital financial inclusion can accelerate economic growth. Fractional logit and random effects empirical estimation identifies access to infrastructure, financial and digital literacy, and quality of institutions as key drivers of digital financial inclusion. These findings are then used to help inform policy recommendations in areas related to the digitization of financial services to promote financial inclusion.
Mr. Ashraf Khan and Majid Malaika
Based on technical assistance to central banks by the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department and Information Technology Department, this paper examines fintech and the related area of cybersecurity from the perspective of central bank risk management. The paper draws on findings from the IMF Article IV Database, selected FSAP and country cases, and gives examples of central bank risks related to fintech and cybersecurity. The paper highlights that fintech- and cybersecurity-related risks for central banks should be addressed by operationalizing sound internal risk management by establishing and strengthening an integrated risk management approach throughout the organization, including a dedicated risk management unit, ongoing sensitizing and training of Board members and staff, clear reporting lines, assessing cyber resilience and security posture, and tying risk management into strategic planning.. Given the fast-evolving nature of such risks, central banks could make use of timely and regular inputs from external experts.
Delphine Prady, Herve Tourpe, Sonja Davidovic, and Soheib Nunhuck
During the 2020 pandemic, the majority of countries have provided income support to households at an unprecedented speed and scale. Social distancing measures and the large penetration of mobile phones in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) have encouraged government-to-person (G2P) transfers through mobile platforms. This paper presents a comprehensive framework for sustainable money solutions in support of social assistance. The framework consists of eight building blocks that may help policymakers i) take stock and assess emergency fixes taken to scale up mobile money in a crisis context and ii) develop sustainable long-term solutions for mobile G2P transfers.
Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Thorsten Beck, Mohammed Belhaj, and Mr. Sami Ben Naceur
The past two decades have seen a rapid increase in interest in financial inclusion, both from policymakers and researchers. This paper surveys the main findings from the literature, documenting the trends over time and gaps that have arisen across regions, income levels, and gender, among others. It points out that structural, as well as policy-related, factors, such as encouraging banking competition or channeling government payments through bank accounts, play an important role, and describes the potential macro and microeconomic benefits that can be derived from greater financial inclusion. It argues that policy should aim to identify and reduce frictions holding back financial inclusion, rather than targeting specific levels of inclusion. Finally, it suggests areas for future research.
Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Ulric Eriksson von Allmen, Ms. Amina Lahreche, Purva Khera, Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Majid Bazarbash, and Ms. Kimberly Beaton
Technology is changing the landscape of the financial sector, increasing access to financial services in profound ways. These changes have been in motion for several years, affecting nearly all countries in the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has created new opportunities for digital financial services to accelerate and enhance financial inclusion, amid social distancing and containment measures. At the same time, the risks emerging prior to COVID-19, as digital financial services developed, are becoming even more relevant.