Author: Don Obrien

BBVA points to digitization and inclusion as financial education’s greatest challenges

The 2021 EduFin Position Paper was created through a process of reflection and debate carried out by the BBVA Center for Financial Education and Capability, which, as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, raised an initial question: How can financial education contribute to a sustainable and inclusive recovery?

Based on this question the Center has prepared a document to establish its position on the current state of financial education and its role in the post-COVID world. It is based on relevant research as well as interviews with the most renowned international experts in the field. 

The report concludes that financial inclusion, digitization, sustainable development, cooperation between stakeholders, and the improvement of financial health, are the main challenges in the field of financial education. The five main conclusions of the document are: 

1. Financial inclusion and financial education are key elements for a more inclusive recovery.

Financial education can be a very useful tool in building a more resilient society because it helps people acquire the ability to use financial resources and services, meet their financial obligations and reduce the effects of economic shocks, especially when it comes to people who suffer the consequences of financial exclusion.

2. The pandemic has accelerated the acquisition of technology, as well as the digitization of finance

Improving the level of digital financial education can be key to reducing the digital gap and improving the access to digital financial products and services. It is especially important for certain population groups.

3.  The crisis has highlighted the importance of having good financial health

Money is the number one cause of stress in people. Financial health, in addition to affecting finances, impacts people’s physical health and social well-being. Empowering societies financially through the provision of financial knowledge and the development of financial capabilities can help improve their financial health and achieve financial well-being.

4. Boosting sustainable development is presented as an unprecedented opportunity

Financial education can act as a facilitator in raising societal awareness about the urgency of climate change and can favor the acquisition of the knowledge needed to integrate sustainability into our personal financial decisions, so that we can all be part of the change through access to sustainable finance.

5. Stakeholder cooperation is essential in order to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive society

Financial inclusion, digitization, and financial education are key enablers for inclusive growth and sustainable recovery. The challenges that arise after the pandemic require a coordinated response through the development of policies that increase resilience in a structural way. A successful implementation of national strategies involves “clearly identifying the shared roles and responsibilities of all relevant actors according to their experience, strengths and resources.” Private sector’s contribution is important, but generally reduced to the implementation of programs with little or no participation in the design of national financial strategies. In addition to providing financial resources, the private sector can also contribute with its experience by facilitating access to consumers, designing digital products for all audiences and being present at the so-called teachable moments.

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Oliver Bolt

Oliver Bolt

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