11 September 2017

Kenya Tops Digital, Financial Inclusion

Kenya has been ranked the top country for the third consecutive year in a survey on financial and digital inclusion by a US-based public institution, helped by the wide adoption of mobile money in the local economy.

Brookings Institution's Centre for Technology Innovation, a non-profit organisation based in Washington DC, in its latest report positioned Kenya at the top of its Financial and Digital Inclusion Program (FDIP) scorecard in a survey of 26 countries across the world.

"For the third year in a row, Kenya ranked at the top of the FDIP scorecard, driven by its robust commitment to advancing financial inclusion, widespread adoption of mobile money services among traditionally underserved groups, an increasingly broad range of mobile money services (including insurance and loan products), and an enabling regulatory environment for digital financial services," the report stated.

"In addition to Kenya, the other top-scoring countries were distributed across Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Brazil and Mexico tied for second place, and Colombia, South Africa, and Uganda tied for third."

Another factor was an enabling regulatory environment for digital financial services. According to Brookings report, 75 per cent of adult Kenyans have a financial account, with 71 per cent of women owning financial accounts.

This has been largely driven by the widespread use of mobile money solutions that have made it easier and cheaper to send and receive money as well as to take out loans.

Kenya has achieved a 50 per cent increase in financial inclusion within the last 10 years, according to a 2016 FinAcess Household Survey.

"The report is a particularly good illustration of the influence mobile and digital technologies as drivers of Kenya's success story on the innovation front," said Brand Kenya chief executive Mary Luseka on Monday.

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