Financial inclusion is a powerful vehicle for moving people out of poverty.
People living in poverty are disproportionately excluded from formal financial systems, which creates compounding costs in their day-to-day lives. Ensuring access to financial services can enable families to weather shocks, increase consumption, invest in businesses, and build stable livelihoods.
of microfinance clients are women
users of bKash mobile money service in Bangladesh
in microfinance loans disbursed in 2021
BRAC believes sustainable poverty reduction must unite both economic and social development.
Financial inclusion is an integral part of BRAC’s holistic approach to development, equipping people who would otherwise be excluded from formal financial systems with the tools to invest in themselves, their families, and their communities.
BRAC offers inclusive, accessible, and convenient loan and savings products that are tailored to the needs of local clients, including women, smallholder farmers, migrant workers, small business owners, and youth. BRAC complements these services with financial education and client protection, enabling borrowers to make informed financial decisions.
Many women in low-income economies are disproportionately left out of formal financial systems and often cannot make financial decisions for their households. When women have control of their finances, they are more likely to invest in family needs, such as health care, nutrition, and education. BRAC emphasises providing financial education and access to financial services for women, enabling them to become financially independent and uplift their families.
Pairing financial inclusion with other social services can amplify their impact on reducing poverty. BRAC complements many of its other social programmes with microfinance services, such as programmes for youth, agriculture and food security programmes, and programmes supporting people living in extreme poverty.
BRAC is at the forefront of financial technology, using innovative digital solutions to expand client offerings, develop new products and services, and improve data collection and programme quality. For example, in Rwanda, BRAC is piloting a mobile app that analyses anonymous household data to help us better understand the financial barriers facing clients. In Bangladesh, BRAC Bank launched bKash, a mobile money service that allows clients to send, save, and spend money. bKash has more than 30 million users across the country, including women, people living in poverty, and other groups that are traditionally left out of financial services.
Microfinance, responsibly delivered, is an incredibly powerful tool to help people lift themselves out of poverty. That is why for over four decades, financial services have been central to BRAC’s holistic approach to development.”
Where we work
BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972 and remains headquartered in Dhaka today. Our first and largest country of operation, BRAC runs a comprehensive suite of programmes in nearly every corner of the country.
More than half of Liberia’s population lives below the poverty line, the largest proportion of any country where BRAC works. We launched operations in Liberia in 2008 with a goal of tackling the challenge holistically.
BRAC launched programmes in Myanmar in 2013. With nearly 70% of Myanmar’s population unbanked, our work emphasises providing vulnerable communities with financial services.
As our newest country of work, BRAC launched operations in Rwanda in 2019. Our work in Rwanda currently centers around financial inclusion, with the goal of expanding our services in the future.
BRAC began its work in Sierra Leone in 2008. In a context with high rates of poverty and unemployment, particularly among youth, BRAC’s holistic portfolio of programmes work to support communities to lift themselves out of poverty.
Tanzania is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, but widespread poverty still persists. BRAC launched its first financial inclusion programmes in Tanzania in 2006, and has since expanded its work across a variety of programmes to address poverty holistically.
BRAC expanded to Uganda in 2006, and the country has quickly become home to our largest operation outside of Bangladesh. In a country with one of the youngest populations in the world, BRAC’s work across sectors emphasises reaching young people.
The worldwide economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic threaten to plunge half a billion people into poverty. As the crisis continues to take a massive economic toll, financial inclusion remains a critical tool for helping people living in poverty to recover.
Our work in action
What is financial inclusion?
Around 1.7 billion people worldwide do not have access to financial services, and the majority are women. Learn how BRAC’s inclusive financial services enable people to grow their assets, invest in small businesses, manage shocks, and build economic resilience.