Across the globe, nearly 70% of adults, or 3.8 billion people, now have access to a bank or mobile money account. Yet, access has not necessarily translated into better financial health for those who need it. Too many people who are considered “financially included” still struggle to manage their current financial obligations, are vulnerable to financial shocks, and lack confidence in their financial future. While important gains have been made to improve access, much more work needs to be done to ensure that financial health – and improved financial outcomes – are embedded in financial systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
The private sector plays a vital role in supporting financial health by creating products and services to help consumers smooth short-term finances, build resilience to financial shocks, and assist in setting and achieving long-term financial goals. Companies have an opportunity to improve the well-being of individuals, while also realizing significant business benefits when they integrate financial health into their core business purpose, products, and operations.
To explore ways of addressing this issue, the Financial Health Network is partnering with the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) under the supervision of the UNSGSA, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Together, we are undertaking a study to assess the landscape for catalyzing private financial sector action on financial health at the global level.
Our nine-month study will aim to answer the following questions:
- What can companies do to support the financial health of their customers, and what are successful examples of this?
- What do companies need to move further, faster on financial health?
- What are examples of successful platforms that support global private sector engagement?
- What operational and financial models will provide an effective platform for this work?
- How can existing financial health frameworks and learnings adapt to lower- and middle-income markets?
- Which companies are best positioned to become advocates and champions of financial health globally?
We will identify an initial group of global private sector leaders to become financial health advocates and champions. The project team will examine their strategies and needs for working on financial health. We will also review existing global private sector engagement models from across sectors. This work will enable us to determine a sustainable model for continually engaging private sector companies in learning, sharing knowledge, and acting on financial health.
This project builds on the findings of the Financial Health Working Group, a collection of technical experts convened by the UNSGSA in December 2020 to consider the state of knowledge and commitment to financial health across the world and develop an agenda for action. The group published its findings in September 2021 in a private sector report, an overview policy report and summary, and a report on measuring financial health.
We hope this work will continue building a global community of organizations and companies dedicated to financial health. The group will share its findings through a public report and convenings in partnership with the Financial Health Network, the Office of the UNSGSA, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
Are you interested in learning more or engaging with the project? Contact Trey Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to hear more from the UNSGSA, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, about global financial health and inclusion? Check out her episode of the EMERGE Everywhere podcast.