Mary Banda in Zambia runs a small restaurant in one of Lusaka’s oldest markets. Before she learned that financial services could make the way she did business easier, her profits were low. But today, her profits have increased, both because she banks her money and because she uses mobile money transfer services.

Using financial services has simplified managing her business and increased profits. And business proceeds now pay her children’s school fees.

Women, Banda said, must not fear banks. “It is very important to save money because the informal sector where we operate has no social security.”

Financial inclusion may sound like an esoteric concept, but its meaning is more than real for the 1.2 billion people who have gotten access to a financial account since 2011, including more than half a billion people in the last three years. ….more