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New Report. Wakala – Deepening Financial Inclusion in East Africa

Over the past decade East Africa has been enjoying stable economic growth. The East African countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia have the highest economic growth rate in Africa and are projected to continue and show strong growth in 2020.

For an economy to experience continuous and viable economic growth, a broad range of high-quality financial products such as savings, credit, insurance, payments, and pensions must be available to a significant share of the population.

Access to capital, or financial inclusion, is an integral part of the modern economy; lack of access to basic banking services, therefore, significantly hinders economic growth.

This lack of access to banking services continues to be a major obstacle to many African economies to this day. In Kenya, for example, it is estimated that before 2007 only a quarter of the population had access to basic financial services. In Tanzania, where the population is dispersed over a larger geographical area, and some still lack access to electricity, financial inclusion is estimated to have been significantly lower.

Hand in hand with this decade long economic growth we have seen continuous growth in financial inclusion in the region, leading back to the introduction in 2007 of, what is now commonplace throughout the region, the Wakala.

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