83 per cent of Kenyans now have access to financial services up from 75 per cent in 2016; a survey partly conducted by the Central Bank of Kenya released on Wednesday has revealed.
According to the 2019 Financial Access (FinAccess) survey, the upturn in numbers was largely driven by mobile technology uptake in the country which is establishing itself as a major player in the mobile money services sector.
Reacting to the survey, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge, in a news report by the Business Daily concurred with the reports findings but similarly attributed the increment to government initiatives and ICT developments in the country.
“The significant reduction in the proportion of the adult population totally excluded from financial services and products vindicates the policies, strategies and reforms undertaken by the government as well as widespread adoption of digital technology and innovations by financial sector players,” Dr Njoroge is quoted as saying by the Business Daily.
The report highlighted the importance of mobile money services such as M-Pesa and Airtel Money to Kenya’s economy and according to Airtel Kenya’s CEO, the trend presents Kenyans with a host of opportunities that they can tap into.
In terms of financial inclusion the survey identified Nairobi, Mombasa, Central Rift Valley and Central regions as key areas in the sector. In Nairobi, financial inclusion stood at 96 per cent, Mombasa’s stood at 94 per cent, Central Rift Valley at 88 per cent and Central Region at 85 per cent. The survey named North Rift Valley as the region with the least financial inclusion at 57 per cent.
The survey also identified Western and Coastal Regions as the fastest growing areas in terms of financial inclusion with a 13 per cent growth rate. Among all regions only Central area registered a two per cent drop in financial inclusion.
The Business Daily similarly reported that despite the growth in mobile financing and financial inclusion in most parts of the country, the Central Bank is still wary of affordability and consumer protection issues as factors that may hinder the country’s progress in the sectors.