Research: Evidence-based decision making for the financial sector in Kenya

May 26th, 2023

FSD Kenya has been facilitating market actors to strengthen information eco-systems to support evidence-based decision making since 2005. In particular, FSD Kenya has been supporting the development of the FinAccess surveys and related products such as an MSE tracker survey, a framework for financial health and a data dashboard for financial inclusion.

The value of these information goods for the market has prompted FSD Kenya’s key research partners in government, the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, to build their capacity in these areas and take over the bulk of investment1. However, there is still a gap in the use of data for policy and innovation and its potential to influence action.

This centres on deeper analysis and targeted communications — developing outputs that speak to policy and industry audiences and are tractable in informing change. In 2022, to improve the value of market information for policy, FSD Kenya commissioned a series of deep dive studies to mine FinAccess data beyond headline numbers, and ask the hard questions:

  • What is the impact of financial inclusion on economic opportunity and resilience? and has Kenya’s technology revolution improved these outcomes for households and firms?
  • Has financial inclusion strengthened, or undermined climate resilience in an era of increasing climaterelated pressures? and is there a tension between the focus on individual investment and the need to eectively manage our collective natural resource base to ensure longer term sustainability?
  • Is financial inclusion really inclusive? Who is being left behind, and why?
  • Do Kenya’s mutual and social financial sub-sectors oer important lessons, as we broaden our perspectives to serve a wider range of needs- in particular gendered needs?
  • How fair is Kenya’s financial sector? Is it protecting consumers, giving them voice and meeting their financial requirements? The early findings from the commissioned deep dive papers were presented and discussed in four panels at the Kenya Financial Inclusion Statistics Conference, with reflections from high-level industry and government representatives.

The Financial Inclusion Statistics Conference, the first of its kind, was held in November 2022 and was organised by the CBK and KNBS with support from FSD Kenya. Aside from the deep dive panels, the conference included presentations from regulators and students as well as global partners, attracting over 1,500 virtual and in-person participants.

The highlight of the conference was the launch of the first FinAccess Household Survey County Report. by the Cabinet Secretary, The National Treasury and Economic Planning, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u. The level of investment and participation that went into the conference from a wide range of stakeholders, showed impressive commitment to the goal of deriving value from demand-side data, and the potential of data to inform and influence inclusive market development.



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