Responsible Finance Forum

How digital finance could boost growth in emerging economies

James Manyika, Susan Lund, Marc Singer, Olivia White and Chris Berry
01 September 2016
McKinsey Global Institute  

Delivering financial services by mobile phone could benefit billions of people by spurring inclusive growth that adds $3.7 trillion to the GDP of emerging economies within a decade.

Two billion individuals and 200 million micro, small, and midsize businesses in emerging economies today lack access to savings and credit. Even those with access must often pay high fees for a limited range of products. Economic growth suffers. But a solution is right in people’s hands: a mobile phone. Digital finance—payments and financial services delivered via mobile phones and the Internet—could transform the lives and economic prospects of individuals, businesses, and governments across the developing world, boosting GDP and making the aspiration of financial inclusion a reality.

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies, is the first attempt to quantify the full impact of digital finance. In addition to extensive economic modeling, the report draws on the findings of field visits to seven countries—Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan—and more than 150 expert interviews. It also lays out the key conditions that will need to be met to capture the benefits.

The research finds that widespread adoption and use of digital finance could increase the GDPs of all emerging economies by 6 percent, or a total of $3.7 trillion, by 2025. This is the equivalent of adding to the world an economy the size of Germany, or one that’s larger than all the economies of Africa. This additional GDP could create up to 95 million new jobs across all sectors of the economy.