The past year and a half has brought incredible difficulties to the world’s low-income and financially underserved people. Families and small businesses have dealt with — and continue to deal with — shuttered storefronts and restaurants, disrupted supply chains, reduced incomes, and unprecedented social and economic crises that cause fear about the future.

As vulnerable populations continue to struggle, it’s helpful to stop and reflect on the progress we’ve made to support them, despite massive challenges. By giving thanks for our victories, we can focus on what’s working to build a truly inclusive and resilient recovery.

I’ve never been more grateful for the dedication of Accion and our partners to supporting vulnerable people with the financial tools they need to recover, adapt, and build resilience for the future. I’m also incredibly grateful for the global progress we’ve made, together, to leverage the power of technology to respond swiftly to new challenges.

A once-in-a-lifetime chance

Thanks to this progress, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to create a more equitable economy and a more inclusive world. More people than ever are:

This progress would be impossible without the commitment and hard work of inclusive financial service providers, investors, funders, policymakers, and beyond to support the world’s most vulnerable people in a time of immense need. At Accion, we created or accelerated exciting partnerships, products, and other initiatives that are helping people get back on their feet:

Great challenges remain

While we’ve made promising strides in equipping vulnerable people with the financial tools of resilience, there’s so much more work to do on our path toward a more equitable and inclusive economy.

As advanced economies focus on administering COVID-19 booster shots, vaccination rates in emerging markets remain horribly low, hovering around four percent or lower. That’s partly why the IMF has dubbed the global recovery from the pandemic “the Great Divergence.” Other research shows world economy could lose $2.3 trillion because of global disparities in vaccination rates, with emerging markets accounting for two-thirds of these losses.

The pandemic has also had especially damaging effects on women, who have experienced higher rates of job loss and are less likely to have the cash reserves needed to withstand an economic shock. The ever-rising threats of climate change also pose challenges for smallholder farmers, agricultural retailers, and many other businesses vulnerable to droughts, floods, and storms.

Together, we can find innovative solutions to these challenges and create a more resilient and inclusive world for future generations. We should be thankful for all the progress we’ve made, but we can’t lose sight of the crisis that continues to face the world’s most vulnerable people, who desperately need support to recover, adapt, and grow.

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