About 34 percent of adults in Sub Saharan Africa had a financial account in 2014 compared to 24 percent in 2011, showed a report released on Tuesday.
The World Bank’s 2014 Global Findex Data report indicates that this growth has been driven primarily by the increased uptake of mobile money accounts.
“On average about 12 percent of all adults in Sub Saharan Africa have a mobile money account compared to the global average of two percent,” says the report, noting that some of the key findings is that there are huge disparities among the region.
“While 58 percent of adults in Kenya have a mobile money account, the figure for Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda stands at 35 percent,” said the report.
According to the report, 60 percent of all adults in Sub Saharan Africa saved in the past year compared to 71 percent in East Asia.
The report contains detailed analysis of the extent of financial inclusion in 140 countries. It reveals that one way to rapidly expand financial inclusion is through deployment of new technology.
One of the authors of the report, Dorothe Singer said technology can accelerate financial inclusion and transform the way domestic payments are made.
Singer said 35 million adults in Sub Saharan Africa reported sending or receiving domestic remittances. She noted that shifting domestic remittance payments from over-the-counter money transfers operators to accounts could double account ownership in countries such as Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Senegal.
Singer, who is also a consultant for the World Bank’s Development Research Group, said in Sub -Saharan Africa, an average of 22 percent of school fee payers pay school fees from an account compared to 15 percent in other developing economies.
World Bank Kenya Senior Economist Mehnaz Safavian said there are still huge opportunities to expand financial inclusion among the poor and women in Sub Saharan Africa.
“This can be achieved through digitizing existing payments such as water and electricity payments,” Safavian said. Enditem