Greater access to finance increases savings reduces income inequality and poverty, increases employment, and improves overall well-being.
This is a justification that financial inclusion is not just about the financial institutions or access to credit but the key for reducing inequality, improving the welfare of societies and overall economic development.
Data from the Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSD Kenya) records that Kenyans excluded from any form of financial service dropped from over 40 percent of adults to 17 percent between 2006 and 2016. Access to any form of formal financial service has dramatically increased from about 27 percent to over 75 percent.
Further, the number of Kenyans not using any form of financial service declined from 25.1 percent in 2013 to only 17.4 percent in 2016.
FSD Kenya attributes this to the evolution of mobile money services, used by over 71% of adults, as well as mobile banking services.
On the other hand, Kenya has been ranked the top country for the third consecutive year in a survey on financial and digital inclusion by the Brookings Institution’s Centre for Technology Innovation, a non-profit organisation based in Washington DC.
“For the third year in a row, Kenya ranked at the top of the FDIP scorecard, driven by its robust commitment to advancing financial inclusion, widespread adoption of mobile money services among traditionally underserved groups, an increasingly broad range of mobile money services (including insurance and loan products), and an enabling regulatory environment for digital financial services,” the report stated.
However, according to FSD Kenya “If Kenyans could effectively compare bank accounts they could, in some cases, save up to KSh 10,000 every year.”
This is according to their Price of Being Banked Report that found a lack of transparency in the varying costs of running a bank account in Kenya.
To achieve the Universal Financial Access 2020 initiative, spearheaded by the World Bank Group envisions that adults worldwide will be able to have access to a transaction account or an electronic instrument to store money, send payments and receive deposits as a basic building block to manage their financial lives.
According to the World Bank, their approach gives focus on:
Consequently, it resolutions and commitments that will be realised at the Mastercard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) being held in Accra, Ghana will be key steps to achieving the goal by 2020.
According to the Mastercard Foundation, “The Symposium’s goal is to catalyze and inspire the next generation of financial services providers (FSPs) to think beyond their products and services in order to cultivate a more client-focused mindset that embraces all aspects of the design and delivery of financial services to the poor.”
This years theme is “Clients at the Centre.”
SoFI2017 aims to: