On Thursday 3rd September 2020, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSD Kenya) hosted a “FinAccess Datafest” webinar, live-streamed to a global audience on YouTube.
The purpose of the webinar was to demonstrate the power in the FinAccess Household Survey data, commonly referred to as FinAccess. FinAccess is a series of surveys jointly conducted by CBK, 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.
Presenters at the online Datafest brought to life clear illustrations of how FinAccess data can be applied in developing solutions to real-life problems using finance. Presentations focussed on practical applications of data gleaned from FinAccess, focussing for instance on data-driven support for the innovation of consumer-centric products and enhancement of services; identification of gaps and opportunities in the usage and quality of different financial products; identification of mismatches between existing financial products and financial needs of consumers, and; demographic and geographical divides in usage.
“Information is a key element in functioning markets. However, the role of cross market data such as that which FinAccess provides, is perhaps underestimated,” said FSD Kenya’s Senior Advisor for Research Amrik Heyer. “The FinAccess Datafest has helped to shed light on the value of this kind of data for policy and providers. Even in the information age, commercial decisions often continue to be guided by insular data reflecting relationships between providers and their individual markets. Cross market data like FinAccess helps providers to step back and understand their place in the market landscape, where the real competition lies -for example, the informal sector, and how opportunities for market expansion can be discovered- for example in the unmet needs of consumers, their aspirations, livelihoods, preferences and constraints.”
“For policy makers, the value of the survey lies not just in tracking progress towards inclusion, but also in framing a longer-term view of the market,” Heyer added. “In 2019, we introduced two frameworks that speak directly to the question of whether and to what extent financial services are adding value for Kenyans — the FinNeeds Framework and the FinHealth Framework. The Datafest also helped to highlight some of this work.”
The tripartite partnership between the CBK, KNBS and FSD Kenya has so far seen the release of five consecutive FinAccess surveys since 2006. These surveys have proved immensely useful to financial service providers, development partners and policy makers, providing crucial data in support of the development of an inclusive financial ecosystem through evidence-based policies. For instance, the surveys of 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016 showed that Kenya has made significant progress in fostering financial inclusion. FinAccess 2019 provided a 13-year perspective on Kenya’s financial landscape, uncovering that Kenya’s formal financial inclusion had remarkably risen from 26.7 % in 2006 to 83% in 2019. This impressive leap in formal financial inclusion has largely been attributed to the growth of mobile money, government initiatives and support, and developments in information and communications technology (ICT).
Preparations for FinAccess 2021 are on-going, with a focus on ensuring that data collected is relevant in supporting various responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other shocks facing Kenyans, such as the recent locust invasion and floods. The survey scope will also be broadened to cover all of Kenya’s 47 counties, succinctly capturing the uniqueness, opportunities, and challenges in each of the counties to support inclusive finance and pro-growth policy interventions at the county level.
“FinAccess cuts across public and private sectors, focusing our attention on the common goal of building a vibrant and inclusive economy,” Heyer said. “This goal is not unique to policy makers and researchers. Our aim at this juncture is to broaden the investor base for FinAccess to include new partners such as the commercial sector and county government.
“What is so exciting about the 2021 survey is that it will speak not just to national level policy or the headquarters of commercial providers; in addition, it will help branch managers to gain insights into their local markets and how these can be uniquely served; it will help county governments to better understand how financial services can support their economic and social development plans. To make this a reality, we need new partners to come on board and invest with us in FinAccess 2021.”
Watch full webinar on Youtube (Video)