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.
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.
Kenya has been feted around the world for its achievements in advancing financial inclusion. And the speed at which access to the formal financial system has advanced has certainly been exceptional. The development of a near ubiquitous mobile phone-based payments system provided the foundations for a further round of fintech innovation.
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.
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 rise of a new dawn in Kenya’s payments system
Eleven years after mobile money started in Kenya, a new dawn is rising – that of open and interoperable systems. Just as you can call people on any network in Kenya seamlessly, you can now send money across mobile money networks seamlessly.
This is the second blog in a series about Financial Service Associations (FSAs) and their potential for growth and customer value creation based on an FSD Kenya commissioned survey by BFA. The survey took place in 2017 in Bamba, Kakeani and Mukuyuni and involved in-depth interviews with over 60 respondents including customers, their non-member neighbours and FSA staff.
FSD Kenya commissioned Oxford Policy Management (OPM) to conduct an in-depth impact assessment of their savings groups programmes which were undertaken in collaboration with two international non-governmental organisations, CARE and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Pauline Kimari is a pharmacist in Ndaragwa, Kenya, a small town several hours’ drive north of Nairobi. She moved there from rural Muranga, several hours away, to open a small shop, Ndaragwa Joy Chemist. It is white with blue and green doors and a blue bench inside. She sells medicine and cosmetics.
During his delivery of the 3rd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion, John Kay argued that the challenge for emerging economies is to avoid the mistakes of the west and to instead focus on building a financial sector that is focussed on the core needs of the non-financial economy.
This year, the price of a kilo of tea reached a five-year high. Every October, tea farmers in Kenya receive a “tea bonus”; the second lump sum payment for tea delivered to the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) during the year. The first lump sum, the “mini bonus”, is paid each April.
Self-employment is a major source of income for low income Kenyans, and Financial Diaries respondents are no exception. When we talked to respondents in 2015, two years after the close of the original Diaries, those whose economic lives were improving pointed to business returns as one of the main drivers of their success.