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.
Globally, fifty-six percent of the unbanked adults are women. In Kenya, the situation is similar. More women are unbanked, in comparison to men. Various steps have been undertaken to address the financial exclusion of women, and though the gender gap has been narrowing over time, it persists.
FSD Kenya in partnership with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Kenya and FSD Kenya ran a survey of micro businesses (MSEs) to track the impacts of COVID-19 on this population. Based on a sample of microbusinesses drawn from the FinAccess 2019 household survey, the survey tracked key metrics such as business revenue, customer flow, employment, use of finance and challenges faced by MSEs between February 2020 (before the pandemic) and July 2021.
The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning has published a draft National Rating Bill 2021 to allow for stakeholder engagement. The Bill seeks to repeal the current Valuation for Rating Act of 1956 (Cap 266) and the Rating Act of 1963 (Cap 267) and seeks to modernize the rating laws to conform them to Article 209 (3) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which empowers county governments to impose property taxes.
This research seeks to unearth the financial needs and demands of urban female retail traders in Kenya by exploring how their financial needs are being met, through which instruments, and in turn, where the opportunities lie to drive improved or increased access to financial products.
Through its AfyaPoa range of products, Insurance for All (IFA) has been delivering affordable and relevant protection to underserved Kenyans in the informal sector for over two years. Intending to broaden its reach through new gig economy partnerships and strengthen and improve its products and distribution approaches, IFA, with support from FSD Kenya and research assistance from 17 Triggers, conducted a four-month research and design phase followed by a six-month pilot.
Most of Kenya’s Fintech solutions are built on the premise of alternative data sources and information sharing to inform decisions, business models, and monetisation models. With the Data Protection Act now in place and draft regulations published, innovators in Kenya now need to think more deeply about innovation that is balanced with compliance with the law.
Recent technological innovations in Kenya are going far in supporting the growth of Kenya’s affordable housing market, by providing an opportunity to leapfrog the less flexible systems that have dominated housing supply in the past.
In Kenya, divergence trends continue with macroeconomic resilience masking sustained inequalities and divergence in recovery. On one hand, inflation remains reasonable; export performance has been relatively strong (especially relative to other African countries); diaspora remittances have been robust; and the mobile money sector has demonstrated sustained resilience and growth.
The building livelihoods programme is a modified financial graduation project that emphasises market-based programme components to increase cost-effectiveness and potential for scale. The aim of the programme is to help those living in extreme poverty build sustainable livelihoods through business to enable them to live above the ‘survival threshold’, whereby households can meet basic food needs without external assistance (Fitzgibbon & Cabot Venton, 2014).
On the afternoon of Thursday, November 19th, 2020, Researcher Julie Zollmann defied the COVID-imposed absence of a live audience to deliver FSD Kenya’s 2020 Public annual lecture on inclusive finance, via YouTube from the University of Nairobi’s Chandaria Auditorium.
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.
In 2019, FSD Kenya and Turaco – a Kenyan microinsurtech startup providing simple, low-cost health and life insurance products to emerging market consumers – collaborated on a three-month pilot project in with a leading digital lender in Kenya. The study found that 80% of respondents were most interested in an in-patient cover to cushion the cost of hospital admissions, saying getting such insurance for free is incentive enough to repay their loans on time. Almost 50% of the treatment group opted in to having insurance payments added to their future loans, citing the idea of low-cost insurance from a financial service provider they know and trust as a key incentive.
In mid-July we interviewed a subset of FSD Kenya/CARE’s Building Livelihoods programme beneficiaries in Northern Kenya to understand the extent to which resources built up through the programme are supporting resilience of beneficiary households during COVID-19, and how these compare and interact with traditional pastoralist coping mechanisms.
The main objectives of this study was to explore the challenges faced by retail traders in Kenya, specifically women and youth traders, as well as the potential barriers and opportunities for women and youth to use digital solutions in their businesses. The research methodology included both qualitative and quantitative elements including an analysis of survey data and in-depth interviews with retail traders