Townsend presents at World Bank-IMF meeting on financial inclusion: Video, remarks now available

May 16, 2012

Robert M. Townsend, Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Faculty Director of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty, spoke at the World Bank–International Monetary Fund panel titled, “Financial Inclusion: From Principles to Action.” The discussion, which took place on April 22, 2012 in Washington D.C., was part of the annual World Bank-IMF spring meetings.

Townsend joined colleagues from the financial sector, international institutions, and academia to discuss strategies for enhancing financial inclusion. In addition to Townsend, panel members included:

  • Gerardo Rodriguez Regordosa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mexico
  • Alfred Hannig, Executive Director, Alliance for Financial Inclusion
  • Brian Pomeroy, Former Chairman, UK Financial Inclusion Taskforce
  • Luiz Pereira da Silva, Deputy Governor, Banco Central do Brazil
  • Alain Damais, Head of ODA and Multilateral Development Institutions, Directorate-General of the Treasury, France (Moderator)
  • Janamitra Devan, Vice President for Financial & Private Sector Development, World Bank

Mahmoud Mohieldin, Managing Director of the World Bank, introduced the day's events, stating: “We at the World Bank see that financial inclusion is potentially transformational, equipping individuals and families to meet their needs and aspirations and enabling firms to start up, compete, and grow.” 

Townsend discussed the potential for combining data and economic models to evaluate policy impact more fully. He noted,  "We need to understand the micro and the macro, we need to link financial institutions at the micro-level to macro . . . so that we understand the impact of increased access on growth and inequality." 

Townsend’s complete remarks on financial inclusion, as well as those by the other panelists, can be viewed on the World Bank forum’s webpage on financial inclusion.  (Townsend's comments appear in Part 5.) The transcript of Townsend's remarks is also available.

The forum, which was co-hosted by the Mexican Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, was an effort to generate momentum and understanding about financial inclusion ahead of the G20 Los Cabos Summit scheduled for June 2012.