Economic Inclusion and Technology

Shubham Upadhyay
2 min readOct 10, 2023

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Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. — Nelson Mandela

A recent report from The World Bank on the state of global financial inclusion released data on the people around the world with bank accounts. Though the data shows that 67% of the population of the world had a bank account in 2017 but in reality on 54% of the population has an active bank account, this number should be troubling to all of us.

This statistic displays the extent of global financial inequality when putting in perspective. 2017 was the year when bitcoin cleared $10,000 and made Winklevoss twins millionaires. 2017 was also the year when the world companies passed $80 trillion in total value, and Dow crossed 20,000 for the first time in history. Unfortunately in 2017 according to the world bank, there were at least 1.7 billion people around the world without a bank account, 22% of the world population was unable to participate in these fantastic economic opportunities. Not having access to financial and banking systems robs people from the chance to save and grow their hard-earned money, it also limits their options to raise money for educational or entrepreneurial endeavors and leads even to further economic inequality.

Technology has the power to solve this problem. Indian technology startups like Paytm are helping the lower strata of society get access to the digital financial revolution. Paytm has given the small vendors and service providers across India access to digital money, it has provided them an easy way to do business and in many ways helped them even grow their business. Companies like Stash and Robinhood have helped democratize investing across the US by offering users access to ETF and Stocks with no minimum required account balance. Technology is not only assisting people to save and invest but is also enabling small farmers and cottage businesses. Appolo Agriculture is another such example, it helps farmers in Africa purchase high-quality farming equipment on credit and then uses remote sensing and agronomic machine learning to increase the productivity of the farms.

There is still a lot to be done, and there are so many ways technology can help people around the world participate in the world economy. The telecom revolution in the early part of this century has penetrated through some of the far reaches of the world and has opened those places up for the digital revolution. I firmly believe that technology in the hand of the right leaders can be the enabler for a lesser divided and more economically equal world where everyone has access to banking.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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Shubham Upadhyay
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Senior Engineering Manager @ Amazon | Yale MBA| AI based Ads