Johannesburg, South Africa, December 6, 2017—IFC, a member of the
World Bank Group, and the Mastercard Foundation today published an ethnographic
study on the perceptions and attitudes to digital financial services in
Sub-Saharan Africa. The study will increase financial inclusion by helping
financial services providers better understand the user of African digital
financial services (DFS).
The report, A Sense of Inclusion: An Ethnographic Study of the Perceptions
and Attitudes to Digital Financial Services in Sub-Saharan Africa,
is based on research conducted at the Africa Studies Center Leiden, University
of Leiden. The study focuses on four countries of varying degrees of DFS
market maturity: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Zambia.
It is a knowledge product of the Partnership for Financial inclusion, a
$37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and the Mastercard Foundation, to
advance financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Lesley Denyes, IFC’s Program Manager for the Partnership for Financial
Inclusion, said, “This research really gives a voice to the users of mobile
money and agent banking in Africa. It’s based on observation and personal
stories rather than aggregated statistics, and gives us a vivid idea of
what lies behind the success of digital financial services on the continent
and what the current challenges are to further expand financial inclusion.”
Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Mastercard Foundation,
said, “We are particularly pleased to see this latest publication from
the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, and its focus on clients. The
report seeks to understand the underlying barriers to the use of digital
financial services, and the drivers that build client trust in those services.
With this deeper understanding, we can give clients voice.”
Since digital financial services were first introduced in Sub-Saharan Africa
about ten years ago, the continent has taken a lead in the global evolution
of a mass market for affordable, accessible and sustainable financial services
for low-income people, rural populations and small-scale entrepreneurs
in emerging markets. There are now over 277 million registered users on
the continent, with about 100 million active accounts, almost 60 percent
of the global total (GSMA). In countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, the
use of digital financial services has led to a near doubling of the financial
The report provides an in-depth description of what digital financial inclusion
means in relation to social and cultural factors. One of the interesting
findings relates to how digital payments interact with extended family
structures and financial obligations within social networks. Some DFS users
have found, for example, that the immediate accessibility of mobile transactions
makes it difficult for them to escape unwanted solicitations for financial
aid from distant family members.
“Now, with the development of money transfers, whenever a family member
asks for money, you need to make it clear - either you have money or you
don't. You can no longer claim you can’t get it to them because if you
say that, the person will answer that you should send it by Wari, Joni-Joni,
etc.,” a policeman and DFS service user in Louga, Senegal, told the researchers.
The study is available for free download online.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide
greater access to education, skills training and financial services for
people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private
foundations its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote
financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in
Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the
Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for
the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.
Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working
with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise,
and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas
of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term
financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private
sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,