It is hard to believe it has been more than a year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Kenya, forcing us to make many unanticipated adjustments about the way we worked.
Most significantly, we had to shift to remote working. One year down the line, I am immensely proud of our team for staying the course so far and maintaining our momentum despite the disruption of COVID-19.
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.
This is clearly an unprecedented time. Over the past few months, the world has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen health systems burdened and unable to cope with the rising numbers of infected people.
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.
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.
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.
I spent a week in Kenya, courtesy of Financial Sector Deepening, an initiative of a number of aid agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, the Swedish government, and the Gates Foundation.
In order to understand the take‐up, use, and impacts of M‐PESA in Kenya, US based Principal Investigators William Jack (Georgetown) and Tavneet Suri (MIT Sloan School of Management) conducted a set of five surveys across Kenya, starting in yearly between 2008 and 2011, with a fifth survey conducted in 2014 to look at the longer-term impacts of M-PESA.
Just what is finance for?
On Wednesday 8th February 2017, John Kay met with 18 financial sector industry leaders to discuss this question and the future of finance in Kenya.
Over 250 policymakers, industry players, regulators, lecturers, students, financial sector analysts, development practitioners and other guests gathered at the National Museum’s Louis Leakey Auditorium on Thursday 9th February 2017 for the 3rd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion.
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.