In a world driven by the cash economy and international flows of capital, the majority of poor people still remain excluded from financial services. There are as many as 2.7 billion adults in developing countries—or almost three quarters of the adult population—who still do not have access to banking services. Financial services are increasingly being seen as important to poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. By borrowing, saving or buying insurance, poor people can plan for their future beyond the short term. They can build up assets, set up small businesses, insure against crop losses and invest in their children’s education and their family’s health.
'Financial Services for the Poor: A strategy for the Australian aid program 2010-15' sets out how Australia will broaden its focus on expanding access to financial services to help poor people improve their standard of living.