Savings and Retail Banking in Africa: Results from 2018 WSBI Member Bank Survey

Data from 24 financial institutions in 20 countries show a persistent "affordability gap"

The scope of this first annual report encompasses primary data research gathered from WSBI African membership, providing a snapshot of savings and retail banking efforts to widen financial access for people in Africa. The 2018 report is a starting point to track the progress of savings and retail banking in Africa and aims to give banks in Africa a reference tool to improve financial access to financially disadvantaged people.

Data is included from 24 financial institutions out of the 34 WSBI African members, in 20 countries. Amongst these regulated financial institutions, 78 percent are wholly state-owned. In terms of banking charter, 42 percent are commercial banks and 25 percent savings banks. Postal financial services dominate the sample, with 58 percent of the financial institutions still using post offices as a remote distribution channel.

The research found that member banks offer a variety of transaction and savings accounts as part of their drive to attract and satisfy customers, but their product and service mix still falls short of customer needs. That shortfall could result in decreased account activity and hamper take-up by potential customers. The report further identified a persistent "affordability gap," which made it difficult for low-income populations to access financial services.

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