Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 1 billion. According to Global Findex Report 2017, mobile money drove financial inclusion in this region between 2014 and 2017. While the percentage of adults with a financial institution account only rose by 4 points, the percentage with a mobile money account almost doubled over this time period, reaching 21 percent in 2017. This figure is the highest of any region in the world, and in some countries of the region it is significantly higher: in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal, over 30 percent of adults have a mobile money account, and in Gabon 44 percent of adults do.
At the same time, about 95 million unbanked adults receive cash payments for agricultural products, and 65 million save using semi-formal methods like savings clubs, providing ample opportunities to increase account ownership.
Savings are important in the region, where 54 percent of adults reported they had saved money in the past year, and 23 percent saved to start, operate or expand a farm or business. These figures are higher than all other developing country regions, reflecting Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong culture of saving.
Domestic remittances - money sent or received from relatives or friends in another part of the country - are also an important part of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa, where almost half of all adults send or receive this type of money.
Men in the region are 11.5 percentage points more likely than women to have an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider. This gender gap in account ownership has increased by 3 percentage points since 2014, and is now slightly higher than the average global gender gap for developing countries of 9 percentage points.