Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to lead the world in mobile money adoption, which is driving financial inclusion in the region. The latest data from the Global Findex 2021 shows that 33 percent of adults in the region have a mobile money account, compared to just 10 percent globally. However, the region remains behind in terms of overall account access. Only 55 percent of adults own an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider, compared to the 71 percent average for developing economies.
Gender gap in financial inclusion
Despite a significant 12 percentage point increase in overall account ownership in the region over the last six years, nearly half of the adult population still lacks access to formal financial accounts. Unfortunately, women are disproportionately impacted by this issue, with only 49 percent of women having access compared to 61 percent of men. This 12 percentage point gender gap in account ownership is among the highest in the world, closely trailing only the Middle East and North Africa. Women in the region face higher barriers to mobile phone ownership and identification documents, impacting their ability to own mobile money accounts.
Financial resilience is key for people's ability to bounce back from financial setbacks such as unforeseen expenses or sudden job loss. While factors like government policies, social safety nets, and cultural norms can influence financial resilience, access to formal financial services, particularly formal savings, can contribute to it.
Mobile money accounts have made it easier for people in Sub-Saharan Africa to save formally, with 39 percent of mobile money account holders using their accounts for savings. However, the overall share of people in the region who were able to save in any way has barely changed since 2017, going from 54 to just 56 percent. Only 14 percent of adults reported being able to access emergency funds within 30 days without any difficulty.
Digital literacy is also a barrier to using financial services. Although mobile money accounts have improved financial inclusion, one in three users still relies on family or agents to access their accounts, which exposes them to various consumer risks associated with digital financial services. Therefore, more needs to be done to address the gender gap in the region and ensure that those with accounts can use them to improve their financial resilience and overall well-being.
Key Financial Inclusion Data
Knowledge Resources by Country
Explore the knowledge resources we have available on the following countries in Sub-Saharan Africa:
East Asia & Pacific | Europe & Central Asia | Latin America & the Caribbean | Middle East & North Africa | North America | South Asia | Global
- A Guide to Global Findex 2021: What You Need to Know, Blog, FinDev Gateway 2022
- Global Findex: Digitalization in COVID-19 Boosted Financial Inclusion , Blog, CGAP 2022
- The Global 2021 Findex Database: Financial Inclusion, Digital Payments, and Resilience in the Age of COVID-19, Report, World Bank 2022. Download Overview: English | عربي | Español | Français
- The Little Data Book on Financial Inclusion 2022, Booklet, World Bank 2022.
- Women and Financial Inclusion, Gender Brief, World Bank 2022.
- Database and Visualization Dashboard, World Bank 2022.
- Unveiling the Global Findex Database 2021 in Five Charts, World Bank 2022 (Also available in: العربية | Español | Français).
- Launch of the 2021 Global Findex Microdata, Blog, World Bank 2022.
- Financial Inclusion and Digital Payments, Video, World Bank 2022.
Explore content from countries in this region
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Republic of Congo
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- The Gambia