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Colombia, Peru tied for first place in new report on global financial inclusion

2016 Global Microscope highlights worldwide advances in digital financial services, continuing strength of financial inclusion environment in Latin America and the Caribbean

The 2016 Global Microscope on Financial Inclusion shows that essential policies for bringing financial services to low-income groups are now widespread in the developing world. Nine of the 12 financial inclusion indicators covered in the benchmarking index improved globally in 2016, building on gains made during the last decade.

Peru earned the top spot in the overall ranking of enabling environments for financial inclusion for the tenth year in a row, but for the first time shares its number one position with another country, Colombia. Two other countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region also rank in the top ten overall scores: Chile, in sixth place, and Mexico, at tenth. As in last year’s report, Latin America and the Caribbean tied with East and South Asia for the highest overall regional score.

Highlights in this year’s Global Microscope related to Latin America and the Caribbean include:

  • Increased emphasis on provision and regulation of digital financial services as a tool for financial inclusion, for example through El Salvador’s Law to Facilitate Financial Inclusion, which has simplified requirements and reduced costs for e-money and savings accounts; progress on implementing the electronic payment requirements of Uruguay’s 2014 Financial Inclusion Law, Costa Rican regulations for a new type of mobile payment system; and Honduras’ new comprehensive regulatory framework for digital financial services. Bolivia was also one of the world’s top scorers in the electronic payments indicator.
  • The successful launch of national financial inclusion strategies in Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras; and Guatemala’s signing a microfinance bill into law.
  • Notable improvements in scores for microinsurance regulation in several countries in the region, including Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Nicaragua.
  • Progress in Jamaica toward developing a new financial inclusion strategy, expected to be introduced by the end of 2016.

The Global Microscope is produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), with policy guidance and financial support from leading organizations in the field, including its founding sponsor, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), as well as the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and the MetLife Foundation. Technical support was provided by the Institute for International Finance (IIF) and the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDBG). Now in its 10th year, the Microscope is the global standard for financial inclusion policy in developing economies. It was released during the MIF’s 2016 Foromic conference.

About the Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group. Trusted by the world’s most influential organizations, the EIU’s public policy practice provides evidence-based research for policy-makers and stakeholders seeking clear and measurable outcomes. More information can be found at

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