People’s ability to participate within the more formalised markets which characterise the modern sector of an economy is often conditioned by the degree of access to the financial system. Exclusion from finance can result in exclusion from opportunities to participate productively in value chains.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, FSD Kenya and BFA Global have been working to understand the human impacts—social, financial, and economic—by conducting qualitative phone interviews with previous respondents from the Kenya Financial Diaries.
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.
Up until now studies concerning mobile money and financial inclusion have focused largely on aggregate adoption rates and usage trends. Few have shed light on the ways in which women, men and young adults (men and women ages 18-25), use mobile money differently.