Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africa
This publication highlights the phenomenal success of digital financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa. It captures the experience and knowledge gained by IFC and the Mastercard Foundation in supporting the growth of digital finance in Africa under the joint Partnership for Financial Inclusion since 2012. Working together with 14 microfinance institutions, banks, mobile network operators, and payments service providers across the continent, the joint initiative has resulted in 7.2 million new digital financial services users (a 250 percent increase from the baseline), 45,000 new banking agents, and USD 300 million in monthly transactions.
The report looks at some of the challenges that will have to be addressed to continue progress in financial inclusion. For instance, to expand financial services to the last mile will require investments in merchant and agent networks, and innovation along agricultural value chains. As well, financial service providers will need to develop and launch products that meet an increasingly nuanced demand from an even broader variety of users, such as entrepreneurs, merchants, smallholder farmers, youth and women.