Anthea Paelo

As of 2014, about two-thirds of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa were financially excluded. 1 Financial inclusion, defined as access to financial services such as savings and credit, is important for any economy that intends to achieve inclusive growth and development. Good financial systems are necessary to provide access to saving, credit and risk management to help the poor start and expand businesses, absorb financial shocks and invest in education. 2 Constraints to greater financial inclusion include a lack of money to use an account, the high cost of accounts, long travel distances to financial institutions, lack of required documentation, onerous bank regulation and poor road infrastructure. 3 There is also a lack of credit information regarding the unbanked. Before a financial intermediary can lend money they must be able to determine how much can be lent, for how long and at what cost. In order to have this kind of information, however, the financial intermediary must have access to an applicant’s credit record which in the case of the unbanked is often non-existent.