Leveraging National Statistics Agencies and Country-Owned Surveys for Financial Inclusion Measurement: The Case of Ethiopia
Global, Eastern and Central Africa, Ethiopia
National Financial Inclusion Strategies (NFIS) typically set financial inclusion targets for the country’s population as a key metric of success. The availability of that data often underpins successful measurement of national financial inclusion progress and the impact of policy actions undertaken through the NFIS. Household surveys are useful tools to collect data on consumer behavior to measure progress in financial inclusion and inform policies and programs in this area. However, collecting demand-side data through standalone household surveys can be costly and resource-intensive.
As part of the World Bank’s comprehensive Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF), providing $3 million in technical assistance towards Ethiopia’s national financial inclusion goals, the Ethiopian authorities worked to bridge their financial inclusion data gap by leveraging the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey (ESS)’ conducted by the Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency (CSA) every two years in collaboration with the World Bank Living Standards and Measurement Study (LSMS) team. Conducted since 2011, the ESS aims at improving the availability of multi-topic panel household level data. FISF aims to accelerate and initiate financial sector reforms and policy actions that advance progress towards the World Bank Group’s initiative of Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020. Filling the gap in financial inclusion data was especially important given that Ethiopia is also one of the 25 priority countries under the UFA initiative.
Policymakers like financial sector authorities should continue to connect and exploit these natural synergies in order to develop comprehensive sources of financial inclusion indicators without exhausting capacities and financial resources. For policymakers trying to measure progress towards financial inclusion and establish an evidence-based approach to overall policy development, the Ethiopian case serves as a good example to replicate in other countries.