Since 2016, we have seen rising levels of financial access and growth in the use of formal finance in Kenya, mainly driven by digital financial services. This includes expanding use of formal savings and loans and more frequent use of accounts.
The focus on the potential and real risks of digital credit, while commendable, runs the risk of taking our collective eye off the wider credit market, which has a much more significant impact on Kenya’s economy.
Five years after Kenya launched the world’s first digital credit solution, the market for digital credit has expanded rapidly in Kenya and many low-income countries. But exactly how big is the market? Who’s using digital credit? And what impact is it having on low-income customers?
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.
In an effort to understand the real needs of the people, our seventh ‘Field Friday’ exercise took us to Karagita in Naivasha. We set out to gather insights on which financial services people use and which ones they trust most.
Rafe Mazer was the speaker at the 2nd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion. His presentation shared how we can develop our own “test and learn” – the way in which financial service providers and regulators collaborate to allow for new solutions – for consumer protection.