Two thirds of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to formal financial services, which means the large majority do not have access to secure and productive means of saving, safe and efficient ways of transacting money, or regulated credit. The rate of financial exclusion is highest among the most marginalized communities; those with low levels of education, and low-income and rural populations. With increased access to trustworthy and sustainable financial services, people can more easily make productive economic choices for their families, their businesses, and for the future.
Access to digital financial services allows people to make payments to family, friends and business associates without costly travel or risky couriers. Access to a savings account allows people to keep their money secure until the day has come for a major investment or when disaster strikes. Insurance allows people protection against disaster or support during major life changes. Credit allows people access to funds to make productive investments in health, education and businesses, without having to rely on preying loan sharks. Access to even the most basic financial services makes life a lot easier and more manageable.
Financial inclusion has made rapid strides in the last few years as alternative delivery channels, such as mobile and agency banking, has offered increasing opportunities for financial services providers to expand beyond the traditional bank branch channel. Kenyans today use M-PESA and other similar services to transfer money, FINCA customers in the Democratic Republic of Congo identify themselves and their bank accounts at agents around the capital Kinshasa by simply pressing a finger into a biometric reader, and small-holder farmers in Rwanda and Senegal can access drought insurance based on satellite data.
Financial Inclusion at the Fingertip
Employing an innovative business model of agent banking and biometric technology, microfinance bank FINCA is bringing formal financial services to the poor in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Banking on Small-scale Farmers
Only 5 percent of small-scale farmers in Tanzania have access to loans from formal financial service providers, yet subsistence farming is the mainstay of the economy. A new product developed by AccessBank is breaking new ground.
Saving for the Future One Dollar at a Timep>At about 9 o’clock in the morning, Bertho Kongolo and his FINCA colleagues assemble a marquee under a tree along the road that divides Quartier Jamaique and Quartier Congo in an area in the Congolese capital Kinshasa called Sakombi. As the FINCA team arranges their red banners…Read More.
How Tanzania Became Mobile Financial Services Interoperability Pioneer
In 2015, Tanzania became the first country in the world to establish industry-led rules for mobile financial services interoperability, which makes it easier for customers to access and use mobile money. How did Tanzania succeed where other markets have struggled? Read More.
Building Africa from the Base of the Pyramid
Economic growth, increasing political stability, and technological innovation have led many to hope for major transformation, one that will lead to a significant reduction in poverty. Today, these converging trends hold the potential to help more people in poverty improve their quality of life. Read More.