Today, I am honoured to represent FSD Kenya at the UK Africa Investment Summit in London. I am inspired by the potential of the entrepreneurs, investors, government officials and civil society organisations who are full of ideas, solutions, and drive to leverage connections and learning across the continent to grow Africa’s economy and wellbeing.
Natasha is a young woman who has a cake baking business on the outskirts of Nairobi. She has a bank account for her business which she uses intensively. Natasha’s business was doing well and she needed a loan to expand.
The focus on the potential and real risks of digital credit, while commendable, runs the risk of taking our collective eye off the wider credit market, which has a much more significant impact on Kenya’s economy.
On the 5th of September 2019, the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), held a stakeholder validation workshop in Nairobi, where they presented the findings of a research study that identified seven key financially underserved segments of the Kenyan population and discussed the potentially viable business cases and policy implications that financial market players could tap into.
In April 2019, the 2019 FinAccess Household Survey revealed that Kenya had made extraordinary strides in financial inclusion. While FinAccess 2019 shows that financial inclusion has peaked at 83% among Kenyans, its findings also evoke poignant questions.
The use of an alert system that flagged Twitter conversations on consumer protection topics, when they rose above certain thresholds, shows promise as a new consumer protection market monitoring tool that we could use in Kenya to address the substantial gaps in consumer protection monitoring and enforcement.
Manufacturers of cars or microwave machines are duty bound to ensure that their products are safe for use. Why can’t financial regulation introduce a similar obligation to ensure financial products and services are not negligently developed and sold, causing harm to consumers?
FSD Kenya set out to explore ways of using finance to build livelihoods of poor households in Kitui. The survey identified indigenous poultry and pulses as the agriculture value chains with the greatest opportunity for low-income households.
Financial inclusion has attracted enormous interest because of its promise to provide an instrument for economic and social empowerment. Initial thinking was that simply expanding the reach of the financial sector would produce financial tools to support greater economic and social inclusion. But the results thus far have been disappointing.
Throughout this blog series I have examined FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme from an identity perspective. I have shown how the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) creates valued identities in the community and how there are different pathways to savings group identification and value.
The role of community-based facilitators (CBFs) is to encourage participation in savings groups, ensure groups function effectively, and provide training on basic financial and business skills, as well as prepare participants for formal loans.
Over the past two years I have travelled to Marsabit County in Northern Kenya four times to talk to the same 50 people about their lives and experiences as participants of FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme. The programme aims to help participants develop sustainable livelihoods through business.
FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme is a market-based adaptation of the Graduation approach popularised by BRAC in Bangladesh. Over a period of two years, participants shared stories about their lives and early experiences with the programme giving insight into who they are and how they think and change throughout the programme.