In The News South Africa

East Africa looks to boost financial access and inclusion

DURBAN – The central banks of Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have expressed their intent to partner with the World Economic Forum (WEF) in an effort to expand access and usage of financial services.

The initiative is to boost financial inclusion in East Africa and will focus on youth empowerment, the gender gap, and financing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through responsible data capture and credit analytics.

According to a statement from WEF, the effort aims to develop collaboration between policy-makers, private-sector providers of financial services and their clients, and other relevant actors.

“East Africa has already made significant strides towards financial inclusion, leveraging digital and other means to raise the number of adults that have an account to 34% in 2014, up from 24% in 2011,” WEF said.

The region leads the world in mobile money accounts, standing at 12% penetration.

The three priorities of the initiative are:
— expand MSME financing by fostering responsible data capture and non-traditional credit analytics
— reduce the gender gap by supporting the creation of innovative financial products and services that fully meet the unique needs of women
— engage youth in financial inclusion through encouraging entrepreneurship, including offering greater opportunities to access the resources (including working capital) needed to initiate and sustain a small business

“The goal of the project is to bring together a coalition of local and international organisations to catalyse investment and collective action towards building an inclusive financial system that promotes sustainable economic growth in the region,” said Matthew Blake, head of financial and monetary system initiative and member of the executive committee at WEF.

More than 1,000 participants have been taking part in the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban this week under the theme “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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