´s Development Solution

Promoting Global Financial Inclusion

Program in a Nutshell

Created in 2013

8 activities carried out​


  • Building Skills and Training
  • Capacity Building and Development
  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation
  • Institutional Building and Support to Institutions
  • Research, Reports and Evaluations
  • Policy Dialogue

Geographical scope​



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The project catalyzes public-private collective action and brings together partners to play a leading role in identifying, shaping and seizing the highest potential opportunities to accelerate progress towards full digital financial inclusion. Over two billion people worldwide are currently financially excluded and around 200-250 million small-to-medium sized enterprises underserved, resulting in poverty and insecurity, and lost economic growth and employment.

The project includes a growing portfolio of countries, where each partnership has tailored national objectives, governance and work plans driving various specific initiatives to result in social and commercial impact from digital financial inclusion. In-country projects have included India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and Rwanda.


    • Through in-country workshops, knowledge-sharing events and publications
    • Through in-country workshops, knowledge-sharing events and publications
    • Component of in-country projects; collaborations with Central Banks, Ministries of Finance and Ministries of ICT
    • Through in-country workshops, knowledge-sharing events and publications
    • Development of reports on various topics related to digital payments and financial inclusion
    • Component of in-country projects; collaborations with Central Banks, Ministries of Finance and Ministries of ICT


  • A recollection of recommendations and key takeaways from the report on «Innovation in Electronic Payment Adoption: The case of small retailers», World Economic Forum and World Bank Group, 2016


    According World Bank global market sizing analysis, expanding merchant payments represents a $19 trillion business opportunity.  However, to seize this opportunity, key obstacles must be overcome:

  • 5 key recommendations to overcome these barriers and facilitate the adoption of merchant payment solutions

    Adopting combined solutions
    Small retailers are more likely to adopt combined solutions that help manage and grow their business, in addition to the ability to pay electronically.

    Creating new non-card payment models
    Innovators are eschewing non-card infrastructure in many developing markets to create new payment models for reaching low-income retailers.

    Creating solutions with value-added services
    As more retailers adopt digital consumer technologies for personal and business use, innovative providers are using the resulting data trails to supply greater value-added services back to those retailers.

    Use suppliers’ financial incentives
    Suppliers have financial incentives and operational capabilities to encourage retailers to pay them electronically.

    Partnering with non-traditional payment actors is essential to reach small retailers at the “last mile”.

  • Key findings from the report «Cash vs. Electronic Payments in Small Retailing Estimating the Global Size», World Economic Forum, 2016

    The study aims to identify the value of cash transactions that could be migrated to electronic payments—in retail payments globally with a focus on formal micro, small and medium retailers (MSMRs), and in doing so, inform the analysis and recommendations of the stocktaking study.

  • $ 34 trillion
    made and accepted payments by MSMEs
    per year
    $ 15 trillion
    electronic payments
    per year
    $ 2 trillion
    B2P retail payments worldwide by MSMEs, 50% of which are made electronically
    per year
    $ 19 trillion
    cash & checks payments
    per year
  • To foster the financial inclusion agenda, the World Economic Forum also leads and explores innovative and break-through initiatives including cash-based humanitarian aid and a successful multi-stakeholder partnership effort to ensure cash-fluidity in times of crisis.

Impact Stories

  • A recollection of best practices from in-country case studies in e-services adoption by small retailers

    Throughout the recent research studies and publications, World Economic Forum has been successfully recollecting and documenting e-payment and e-banking solutions helping SMEs to establish and conduct their businesses. Among the best practices, we selected below a few examples related to the developing and least developed countries.

  • Cardless virtual payment system for SMEs – as a combined solution that help manage and grow SMEs business

    ABSA has Enterprise Development Centres in 8 provinces where SMMEs can walk in and get assistance. One can book an appointment through the Small Business Support Centre during SMME-friendly hours.

    Virtual Pay’s system is one of the SMEs oriented services. It makes controlling operational costs and streamlining administration a lot easier for small businesses. Virtual Pay is a cardless virtual payment system at the heart of which is just one single business account, thus replacing multiple corporate expense and travel and entertainment cards. The accounts become transaction based and no longer linked to a specific person or department.

  • Enabling mobile payments for small merchants

    Following M-PESA’s success with its Person to Person money transfer service by phone, Safaricom signs up small merchants to enable its customers to pay with mobile money.

  • Micro & Small Retailers
    Type of Beneficiaries
    Merchants Reached
  • Boosting merchant adoption of electronic payments

    Tienda Pago provides short-term (1-2 weeks) working capital credit to small retailers to pay suppliers, whom the company signs up to its platform.

  • 2014
    Tienda Pago Launch
    Merchants Reached
    Micro & Small Retailers
    Type of Beneficiaries
    in each Venezuela and Peru


For Whom

Policy makers: Policy makersPoliticians: PoliticiansBusiness Associations: Business AssociationsMSMEs: MSMEsSMEs: SMEsResearchers: ResearchersExperts: ExpertsDecision makers: Decision makers


  • Accion
  • Bank Mandiri
  • Bank of America
  • Banorte
  • Barclays Africa Group
  • Better Than Cash Alliance
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • BRAC
  • Child and Youth Finance International
  • Citi
  • Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)
  • Credit Suisse
  • FIS
  • ICICI Bank
  • Interbank
  • Intermedia
  • International Finance Corporation
  • International Labor Organization (ILO)
  • Janaagraha
  • Kiva.org
  • Mastercard
  • Mercy Corps
  • Old Mutual
  • Paypal
  • PlaNet Finance
  • Plan International
  • Prudential
  • SAP
  • S&P Global
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Swiss Re
  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • Telenor Group
  • UBS
  • United Nations
  • United Way Worldwide
  • Visa
  • Western Union
  • Women’s World Banking
  • World Bank Group
  • Zurich Insurance Group



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