The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Mobile Banking Exceeds Optimistic Expectations

    As Melinda and I highlighted in this year’s annual letter, we believe that mobile banking is one of the best tools we’ve ever seen for helping people lift themselves out of poverty. Today, more than 2 billion people have no access to financial services, severely limiting their ability to borrow, save, invest and participate in the mainstream economy. But that is changing fast. A new report by scholars at the Brookings Institution shows that many countries are making national commitments to financial inclusion and helping mobile banking reach critical mass. Kenya is a good example of what’s possible. Today 75 percent of adults there have accounts with a bank or mobile-money provider, up from only 42 percent in 2011. Other countries that are making huge strides include Brazil, Rwanda, Tanzania, Bangladesh and India. I love the fact that when I’ve traveled in these countries, I’ve seen digital financial innovation that’s even outpacing what we see in rich countries.

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