Financial inclusion for all

Looking upwards to the gable of a federation building with the name Bank on it.Financial inclusion should be a top priority for policymakers keen to alleviate poverty. Five of the Sustainable Development Goals feature financial inclusion, including reducing gender based inequalities. Access to financial services is a human right but overlooked for people with disability. 

Financial services include banking, credit, insurance and financial advisors. Each of these should be readily available to everyone. A literature review identified five key barriers:

  1. People with disability have a lower demand for formal financial services than those without disability
  2. Banks do not expect or welcome customers with disability
  3. More appropriate technologies are needed to overcome communication barriers because communication technology (ICT) fails to meet the web content accessibility requirements 
  4. Financial services are not tailored to meet the needs of people with disability 
  5. The formal financial system requires accessible public infrastructure to include people with disability.

What are the solutions?

Multi-stakeholder collaboration to counter stigma and attitudinal barriers is the starting point. Financial education and accessible assistive technology and ICT is essential as well as the physical environment of financial institutions. 

The title of the research article is, Financial inclusion for people with disability: a scoping review

From the conclusion

Access to financial services is a human right that seems to have been overlooked for people with disability. The push for financial inclusion of people with disability is a matter of economic strategy as well as a moral imperative rooted in justice and equity.

The financial sector’s landscape, shaped by innovations in ICT, provides an unparalleled opportunity to bridge the financial divide faced by people with disability. However, it will take more than technological advancements to solve the problems.

True financial inclusion necessitates a paradigm shift in attitudes, policies, and strategies. Our findings underscore the urgency to redesign financial systems that are accessible to all and cognisant of the preferences and needs of people with disability.

Addressing the multiple dimensions of financial exclusion of people with disability requires a comprehensive, multifaceted approach, integrating attitudinal change, ICT accessibility, and a commitment to disability justice. There is an emphatic call for banks, policymakers, and society to converge their efforts.

From the abstract

Financial exclusion is a human rights issue affecting health equity. Evidence demonstrates that financial exclusion is exacerbated for people with disability and those in low- to middle-income countries. Barriers to financial access include limited demand for services, banking inadequacies in catering to people with disability, and insufficiently accessible information technologies (ICT) and infrastructure.

Recommendations include using ICT, digital innovation and multi-stakeholder collaboration to address the financial barriers experienced by people with disability. These efforts, rooted in social justice, aim to include people with disability as valued financial sector participants, promoting health and equity.


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