Kenya’s financial inclusion hits 83 percent – report

“Proponents of the New Paradigm in Africa have a new milestone to celebrate, with the opening of a new segment of the Mombasa-Kisumu Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) line in Kenya. On October 16, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta led a celebration to open Segment 2A, a 120 kilometer (75 mile) extension from the capital (and current terminus) of Nairobi, to Naivasha, a large town northwest of the capital. Opening of this—admittedly rather short—segment nonetheless brings the SGR project one step closer to its planned destination: Kampala, the capital city of neighboring, landlocked Uganda.”

The national access to financial inclusion in Kenya has hit 82.9 percent, an improvement from 26.7 percent in a decade, a new report released on Tuesday shows.

The Kenya Economic Report 2020, produced by the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra), a government think-tank, noted that the 17 percent of the population which is still excluded from access to formal financial services are mainly in rural areas.

The World Bank defines financial inclusion as means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.

The main barriers to greater financial inclusion in Kenya, according to Kippra, are proximity to financial providers, level of trust of financial providers, excessive documentation, financial literacy and the cost of accessing financial services.

“It is noted, however, that while these barriers have persisted over the last decade, the advent of mobile-based financial services has transformed financial systems in Kenya, helping more people to access financial services,” said the report.

Kippra noted that mobile money agents present a potential solution to many of the barriers to closing the financial inclusion gap and reaching the excluded.

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