Center for Global Affairs
Financial Inclusion in Practice: A Toolset for the Digital Age
Over the past three decades, billions of people have been lifted from poverty.Yet today, almost two billion individuals¿one-third of adults globally¿lack access to basic financial services. Billions more, in both developed and emerging markets, rely on sub-optimal financial instruments to manage their daily finances. In short, they have no financial security. At the micro-level, financial exclusion¿or the lack of access to formal financial services¿has a serious impact on a person¿s quality of life, denying them access to the same opportunities, benefits and choices that many of us take for granted. At the macro-level, financial exclusion undermines economic development efforts at the community and country levels. A wide range of public, non-profit and private entities undertake initiatives to deliver financial services to the base of the pyramid, often with mixed results. Nevertheless, financial inclusion is one of the levers with the greatest potential to improve the daily lives of the unbanked and underbanked, while also advancing global economic and social development goals. This course introduces students to a set of tools which can help to address financial inclusion problems, with a focus on the following four skills: -Data Analysis¿the ability to consume, interpret and manipulate data sets to formulate solutions -Design Thinking¿the ability to leverage principles of consumer-centric design to develop products and solutions -Financial Modeling¿the ability to employ Excel to build financial models to assess the viability of a business case -Business Modeling¿the ability to apply methodologies and tools to make decisions and formulate strategies that shape business/commercial decisions Although these skills are useful in the financial inclusion space, they are also widely applicable to a broad set of careers in the public, private and non-profit sectors.