More people than ever open bank accounts, helped by mobile phones, growth in Asian economies

Industries Associated Press

The World Bank says an estimated 700 million people worldwide have opened a bank or payment account in the last three years

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The unprecedented rise in new accounts has been driven by the spread of cell phones throughout areas like sub-Sahara Africa, and by the economic rise of Asia.

Now, 62 percent of the world's adult population has a bank or payment account compared with 51 percent in 2011.

In Kenya, the number of bank or payment accounts nearly doubled in three years, with all the growth coming from mobile accounts.

The bank says women continue to lag behind men in account ownership globally. However, the gap between women and men decreases when the bank only considered wage-earning women.