A new publication, Financial Inclusion in Africa, by the Complex of the Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB) finds that for sustained and inclusive development to thrive, a great deal of innovation is needed to ensure that appropriate financial services and instruments are put in place for the benefit of the poor and other vulnerable groups in Africa.
The publication is edited by Thouraya Triki and Issa Faye from the African Development Bank’s Research Department. It brings together a wealth of knowledge on financial inclusion from experts and practitioners from the broader development community, including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Overseas Development Institute, Inter-American Development Bank Group, Dalberg and AfDB.
The publication describes the multi-faceted nature of financial inclusion through a compilation of chapters that approach the topic from different perspectives. “We sought to cover different groups that have been historically underserved or unserved by formal financial institutions including small and medium enterprises, women, rural areas and agriculture, and fragile states,” explained Issa Faye, Division Manager at the Research Department of the AfDB.
The book is structured around three main parts. The first part lays the theoretical foundation for the subsequent analyses by explaining the multifaceted aspect of financial inclusion and how to measure it. The second part looks at some transformational mechanisms and approaches designed to serve the underserved while the third part discusses strategic issues such as the relationship between financial stability and inclusion, the potential transformative role of technology and the role of Development Finance Institutions.
The publication draws on recent data collection efforts made by the development community to document the state of financial inclusion in Africa. “Thanks to these new datasets, we were able to rigorously analyse financial inclusion for different segments of the population, users groups, and sub-regions. Such exercise was not possible until recently,” said Thouraya Triki, Chief Country Economist at the AfDB.
The findings and policy recommendations provided by this publication are aimed to inform the current discussions on the state, the opportunities and challenges for accelerating financial inclusion on the continent.