Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, June 23, 2016—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation, today
opened a two-day conference for the financial sector in Sub-Saharan Africa
in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to promote microfinance and digital financial
services to advance financial inclusion.
A study released at the event, Opportunities
for Digital Financial Services in the Cocoa Value Chain in Cote d’Ivoire,
looks at the financial behavior of small-holder farmers in the large cocoa
sector in the country and how digital financial services may be used to
extend access to financial services in rural areas. It finds that few cocoa
farmers have access to traditional bank services, but are adopting mobile
money services at a faster rate than urban populations.
“Most cocoa farmers appear to see banks
as ‘for the rich’ and thus not a relevant option for them. However, the
various mobile money services offered by Ivorian mobile network operators
appear not to have such constraints, and they have a high level of adoption,
at 53 percent, among cocoa farmers,” the study notes.
Access to financial services has increased
rapidly in recent years due to the use of new technology and innovative
business models such as mobile money and agent banking. The gains have
been the largest and most rapid in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the challenges
are also the greatest. The number of mobile money users in West Africa
has doubled to 21 million just in the last three years.
Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion
and Youth Livelihoods,
The MasterCard Foundation, said, “Globally, we have made huge strides
in financial inclusion, with a 20 percent drop in recent years in the numbers
of people who are financially excluded. This Partnership for Financial
Inclusion is demonstrating that, when organizations work together with
ambition, creativity and a strong commitment to make a difference, large
numbers of poor people can benefit from access to financial services to
improve their lives.
Aliou Maiga, Regional Industry Head, IFC
Financial Institutions Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “The mobile money
story in East Africa is well known to everyone, not least the remarkable
success of M-PESA in Kenya. We are hosting this event in Cote d’Ivoire
because of the fast pace of progress we are now also seeing in West Africa,
and to highlight opportunities for further expansion of financial inclusion
in the region.”
The event is hosted by The Partnership for
Financial Inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard
Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services
in Sub-Saharan Africa. Created in 2012, it has already seen 2.7 million
people benefit by gaining access to financial services through the partners
supported by the program. The Partnership expects to see twice that number
gain access to financial services by 2018.
The full study, Opportunities for
Digital Financial Services in the Cocoa Value Chain in Cote d’Ivoire,
is available online in English
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 @MCFoundation 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 opportunity where
it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries
rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential
role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org