Latest Publications

Finance Forward Volume IV Issue I

By widening our gaze at Cenfri, even if just for a defined period, we can begin to recognize areas of strategic importance, to coordinate research efforts with one another, and to identify developments in our field and in the fields that influence it as they take shape.

 

Finance Forward aims to collect and present information that helps the reader understand recent trends, driving forces, and relevant issues impacting upon the financial sector in Africa. The series has been designed not to provide direct answers, opinions, or solutions about global trends and issues. Rather, the publication is intended to help leaders take a step back so that they can scan the larger, interlocking environments from which trends and themes emerge. This allows each of us to interpret the con­tents based on the context of our own institutions, projects and aims, ultimately enabling us to create appropriate institutional strategy. 

 

Please click here to download Finance Forward Volume IV Issue I (PDF, 21.4MB)

 

Brand new to this edition is the Statistical Appendix. It serves as an easy reference guide for all the statistics used through the Finance Forward edition.

Lost in the mail: Why bank account access is not translating into usage

Underlying the global financial inclusion agenda is the assumption that providing access to and ownership of bank accounts will improve the lives of previously excluded adults and contribute to economic growth objectives. This assumption is reinforced by global surveys such as the World Bank Global Financial Inclusion Index (Findex) and the country-level FinScope Consumer Survey, which monitor the progress of financial inclusion policies by tracking the number of ‘banked’ individuals. The headline indicators, such as the FinScope Access Strand, position bank account ownership as the priority area of inclusion, with other forms of financial inclusion secondary. However, the evidence from the first six MAP pilot countries shows that ownership of a bank account is not a sufficient measure for whether adults are using them and, in turn, benefiting from them.

The king is (not) dead: Why digital payments are not replacing cash

Globally, the financial inclusion agenda has focused on migrating consumers, providers and governments to digital payment instruments, in a bid to reduce the cost of payments and to allow for the digitisation of other services for which payments are required (e.g. savings, credit and insurance). However, despite the increasing focus on and availability of digital or electronic payments, very few adult consumers in the six MAP countries are using digital instruments to meet their payment needs and cash remains the preferred payments options.

Mapping the DNA: Using consumer insights to unlock the potential of financial inclusion

In the first six MAP pilot countries, financial inclusion – contrary to popular belief and despite millions of programming dollars – has in many ways not lived up to its promises. If we move away from a one-dimensional view of financial inclusion as the percentage of adults with a formal bank account, we find that formal financial services are in fact having a limited impact on people’s lives (or in some cases leaving people worse off). Indeed, many bank accounts remain dormant for long periods at a time, or are used only for withdrawing cash once wages are deposited. Cash and informal financial services remain the order of the day.

 
Latest Publications

Finance Forward Volume IV Issue I

By widening our gaze at Cenfri, even if just for a defined period, we can begin to recognize areas of strategic importance, to coordinate research efforts with one another, and to identify developments in our field and in the fields that influence it as they take shape.

 

Finance Forward aims to collect and present information that helps the reader understand recent trends, driving forces, and relevant issues impacting upon the financial sector in Africa. The series has been designed not to provide direct answers, opinions, or solutions about global trends and issues. Rather, the publication is intended to help leaders take a step back so that they can scan the larger, interlocking environments from which trends and themes emerge. This allows each of us to interpret the con­tents based on the context of our own institutions, projects and aims, ultimately enabling us to create appropriate institutional strategy. 

 

Please click here to download Finance Forward Volume IV Issue I (PDF, 21.4MB)

 

Brand new to this edition is the Statistical Appendix. It serves as an easy reference guide for all the statistics used through the Finance Forward edition.

Lost in the mail: Why bank account access is not translating into usage

Underlying the global financial inclusion agenda is the assumption that providing access to and ownership of bank accounts will improve the lives of previously excluded adults and contribute to economic growth objectives. This assumption is reinforced by global surveys such as the World Bank Global Financial Inclusion Index (Findex) and the country-level FinScope Consumer Survey, which monitor the progress of financial inclusion policies by tracking the number of ‘banked’ individuals. The headline indicators, such as the FinScope Access Strand, position bank account ownership as the priority area of inclusion, with other forms of financial inclusion secondary. However, the evidence from the first six MAP pilot countries shows that ownership of a bank account is not a sufficient measure for whether adults are using them and, in turn, benefiting from them.

The king is (not) dead: Why digital payments are not replacing cash

Globally, the financial inclusion agenda has focused on migrating consumers, providers and governments to digital payment instruments, in a bid to reduce the cost of payments and to allow for the digitisation of other services for which payments are required (e.g. savings, credit and insurance). However, despite the increasing focus on and availability of digital or electronic payments, very few adult consumers in the six MAP countries are using digital instruments to meet their payment needs and cash remains the preferred payments options.

Mapping the DNA: Using consumer insights to unlock the potential of financial inclusion

In the first six MAP pilot countries, financial inclusion – contrary to popular belief and despite millions of programming dollars – has in many ways not lived up to its promises. If we move away from a one-dimensional view of financial inclusion as the percentage of adults with a formal bank account, we find that formal financial services are in fact having a limited impact on people’s lives (or in some cases leaving people worse off). Indeed, many bank accounts remain dormant for long periods at a time, or are used only for withdrawing cash once wages are deposited. Cash and informal financial services remain the order of the day.

 

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