WASHINGTON, June 29 (KUNA) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred financial inclusion, driving a large increase in digital payments amid the global expansion of formal financial services, according to a new report by the World Bank Group.
"As of 2021, 76 percent of adults globally now have an account at a bank, other financial institution, or with a mobile money provider, up from 68 percent in 2017 and 51 percent in 2011," the World Bank Group stated Wednesday in its Global Findex 2021 database report.
It suggested that this expansion created new economic opportunities, narrowing the gender gap in account ownership, and building resilience at the household level to better manage financial shocks.
Furthermore, the reported noted that growth in account ownership was evenly distributed across many more countries.
While in previous Findex surveys over the last decade much of the growth was concentrated in India and China, this year's survey found that the percentage of account ownership increased by double digits in 34 countries since 2017.
It added that two-thirds of adults worldwide now make or receive a digital payment, with the share in developing economies grew from 35 percent in 2014 to 57 percent in 2021.
"The digital revolution has catalyzed increases in the access and use of financial services across the world, transforming ways in which people make and receive payments, borrow, and save," said World Bank Group President David Malpass.
The Middle East and North Africa region has made progress reducing the gender gap in account ownership from 17 percentage points in 2017 to 13 percentage points: 42 percent of women now have an account compared to 5 percent of men. (end)