The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed an additional two million Kenyans into poverty. Health shocks are particularly devastating for low-income households, most of which lack access to insurance and hardly save towards such eventualities due to a myriad of competing daily priorities.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Financial Sector Deepening Kenya, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
and faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are collaborating to launch a Research Paper
Competition on the topic of Financial Inclusion in Kenya.
I love numbers, charts, infographics and digging into insights, especially from the robust FinAccess survey that FSD Kenya has co-led with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) since 2005. Not just because I find it interesting, but because FinAccess is a temperature check for Kenya’s financial inclusion and financial health. FinAccess points us to the questions which remain open about how Kenya’s financial system can deliver on its promise in meeting the needs of the real economy. As we closed 2021 with the FinAccess launch on the 15th of December, I had the honour of sharing some of these initial questions as I reflected on the numbers in my remarks. I look forward to exploring the answers with many across the sector as well as surfacing more questions that can lead us further down the path of a truly inclusive financial system for Kenya.
The FinAccess Household Survey, commonly referred to as FinAccess, is a series of surveys jointly conducted by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and FSD Kenya every two to three years to establish the level of financial inclusion, as well as to measure the drivers and usage of financial services in Kenya.
Kenya has received world-wide recognition as leader in financial innovation. This is a laudable achievement because finance holds the potential to unlock solutions to the real-world problems that Kenyans face in their daily lives.
The inability of low-income households to access quality healthcare is a major challenge in dealing with unanticipated shocks. The challenge is bigger for rural households. Small rural pharmacies stock almost entirely generic medicines because these are the products that patients can afford.
This segmentation study identifies Kenyans whose financial needs are not adequately met by the solutions available in the financial market, as well as the untapped opportunities they offer to financial service providers. The study was conducted by FSD Kenya and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), using data from FinAccess 2019.
Starting with microcredit in the late 1980s, there has been a growing movement of multilateral institutions, private foundations, non-profits, corporations and governments that aims to provide formal financial services to low-income market segments around the world.
Since the launch of M-Shwari in 2012, the number of digital lenders and loans disbursed has grown substantially. Advances in credit scoring, few regulatory barriers and the widespread use of mobile phones and mobile money have enabled growth of the digital lending industry, giving borrowers a quick and convenient option for credit.
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.
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.
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?
Kenya aims to become a middle-income country by 2030, delivering a high quality of life to all. Finance plays a central role in our economy, facilitating trade and underpinning the efficient pooling and allocation of resources and risk.