Benchmarking Financial Inclusion in Fiji, Samoa, and Solomon Islands: Findings from the First National Demand Side Surveys

Generating financial access data in the Pacific and promoting regional financial inclusion

This report contains the findings of the first nationally-representative, demand side surveys of financial inclusion in Fiji, Samoa, and Solomon Islands. Conducted in early 2015 by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), the report provides a number of insights into the rich, varied, and active financial lives of Fijians, Solomon Islanders and Samoans.

Until now, policymakers were limited to supply-side data to assess progress, making it impossible to determine the number of banked (and unbanked) individuals, and their attributes in terms of gender, age, location, income or other demographic characteristics. The Demand Side Survey (DSS) initiative is an important first step in the journey to incorporate data into policymaking and evaluation, by providing evidence-based color and depth to the understanding of financial access and usage in the Pacific.

This report outlines the barriers to formal financial access, as unearthed by the DSS surveys, along with questions for further research.

Key findings include:

  • Savings culture is strong, with 61% of Samoan adults to 87% of Solomon Islander adults having saved in the past year. 
  • While a large proportion of Fijian and Samoans savers are formally banked, Solomon Islanders save informally due to low access to formal financial services (only 26% of adults are banked). These adults save at home, or by giving money to others, either to safeguard for them or as loans that they intend to recover. 
  • Remittances account for important financial flows in the region, especially in Samoa, and opportunities remain to capitalize on remittance transactions to offer innovative and appropriate financial services. 

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