At the G20 Summit in Seoul, the G20 Leaders recognized financial inclusion as one of the main pillars of the global development agenda. A few months later, the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) was launched to promote financial inclusion globally. Improving access to and the use of financial services is essential to increase the well-being of households and businesses and to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.
The World Bank's Findex Database - the world's most comprehensive data set on how adults save, borrow, make payments, and manage financial risks - indicates that in 2017, some 1.7 billion adults globally, or about half the total adult population, still had no access to financial services provided by regulated financial institutions. While bank account penetration is nearly universal in high-income economies, with 94 per cent of adults having an account at a financial institution, only 54 per cent of adults have one in developing economies. Exclusion from financial services means depending on informal channels for loans and savings, and having no protection against risks.
The GPFI is an inclusive platform for all G20 countries, non-G20 countries, and other relevant stakeholders to carry out the agenda on financial inclusion. The work of the GPFI is organized into priorities, action areas and deliverables and relies on the support of its Implementing Partners to achieve its goals. The main action areas include promoting actions to improve digital financial inclusion for individuals and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and monitoring countries' progress in reducing remittance costs to internationally agreed targets. The GPFI also encourages financial education policies and suggests measures and principles to strengthen protection for consumers of financial services, especially digital ones.
Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has been the Honorary Patron of the GPFI since June 2011 in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). As Honorary Patron of the GPFI, her main task is to advocate for financial inclusion and promote the GPFI's work at international level.
Two Co-Chairs, appointed by the G20 Member Countries, are responsible for leading and coordinating the GPFI's work programme and the activities. Magda Bianco, from Italy, and Anna Zelentsova, from Russia, have been appointed as GPFI co-chairs for the next three years (2021-2023). They collaborate with the G20 Presidency, the GPFI Troika (the present, current and future Presidencies), and all GPFI Members.