Istanbul: International Monetary Fund announced on Monday a worldwide project to collect data on access to financial services in a bid to help policies aimed at reducing poverty.
IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Dutch Princess Maxima, an international activist for development, launched the Dutch-funded project in Istanbul ahead of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in the Turkish capital.
More than two billion people across the world do not have access to basic financial services and only 20% of the world’s population has a formal savings account, Princess Maxima said.
Strauss-Kahn stressed the growing importance of micro-credit in developing countries, but said it might grow into a “bubble” if not regulated properly.
The goal of ensuring financial access for the poor has taken on even greater importance in the context of the global financial crisis, he said.
Under the project, the IMF will collect data from countries on loans, deposits, debt securities and insurance on a regular basis to help determine priorities for policies on broadening access to financial services.