Financial inclusion and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: a missed opportunity
Approximately 2 billion adults, just below half of the world’s adult population, are financially excluded. They lack access to formal or semi-formal savings, credit, and insurance services. The vast majority of these adults live a hand-to-mouth existence in the developing world. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development takes a rather unambitious approach to financial inclusion (FI). It recognizes its importance in advancing several sustainable development goals (SDGs), but it does not include it as a stand-alone goal. This paper criticizes this approach and claims that the new agenda has been a missed opportunity to focus efforts on finding ways of meeting the financial needs of the global poor. We analyse three of the main reasons for not including FI as a sustainable goal: namely, the instrumentality argument, the free market argument, and the veil argument.