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.
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.
Kenya aims to become a middle-income country by 2030, delivering a high quality of life to all. Finance plays a central role in our economy, facilitating trade and underpinning the efficient pooling and allocation of resources and risk.
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.
Mystery shopper exercises carried out over several weeks in 2015 and 2016 mirrored a typical customer’s journey in which most customers obtain information on banking from branches. But despite visiting over 30 bank branches, customer care representatives, bank websites, enquiring from colleagues and friends, we still couldn’t get consistent pricing information.
This report outlines the findings from a two-year study by FSD Kenya to understand the costs for banking services in Kenya. Two rounds of mystery shopping surveys were completed in October and November of 2015 and 2016
to build a database and measure the costs for basic bundles of transactions such as opening, running and closing bank accounts.
Do you know how much it costs to run your bank account? It’s no surprise that many of us do not know the cost of banking in Kenya. Pricing information is not easy to find and sometimes even staff at bank branches do not provide accurate information.
Banking remains the largest sub-sector by assets and the most systemically significant in Kenya’s financial services sector. Developments, especially those enabled by technology, have brought a sizeable number of new, mostly poorer and vulnerable first-time consumers into the market.
Africa’s population is growing faster than anywhere else in the world. More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa and of the additional 2.4 billion people projected to be added to the global population between now and 2050, 1.3 billion will be in Africa.
Financial services associations (FSAs) are rural community-level member based semi-informal financial institutions, that are a hybrid of savings and credit cooperative organizations (SACCOs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs).