Kenya’s banks are making a renewed push for financial inclusion this week with nationwide campaigns geared at developing the country’s lending industry.
While promoting the initiative, the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), a regulator for the country’s banking sector, stated that banks have played an integral role in enabling the public to seamlessly make money transactions in real time using their mobile phones.
Kenya is famous for its rapid adoption of mobile banking thanks in part to the advent of M-Pesa, a money transfer platform from Safaricom, the country’s leading telecommunications company in terms of market share. The telco reports that more than two thirds of the country’s adult population uses the service.
According to the country’s Communications Authority, many Kenyans are also subscribed to other mobile money transfer schemes, including Airtel Money, a product of Bharti Airtel Limited, which is a global telecommunications services company based in New Delhi, India.
The Bankers Association states that 75.3% of Kenyans are now formally included in the country’s financial system thanks to key innovations from across the banking sector.
“Kenya has an impressive track record in leveraging on technology to help the public access basic financial services,” said the KBA.
Financial Inclusion Week, or ‘Finclusion Week’ as it is popularly known, comes at a time when an estimated 38 million out of 48.5 million Kenyans own a mobile phone.
The event also comes at a time when Kenya has a total of 42 commercial banks, one mortgage finance company, 12 microfinance banks, eight representative offices of foreign banks, 86 foreign exchange bureaus, 14 money remittance providers and three credit reference bureaus.
“We recognize that financial inclusion is one of the levers with the greatest potential for driving Africa’s growth,” said Stanbic Bank Kenya, a division off Standard Bank, one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups.
The Gulf African Bank, a multi-regional lender with operations in Kenya, is using Finclusion Week to market its GABPesa app, a system that promises convenience in the ever-growing field of mobile banking.
In a statement issued at the start of Finclusion Week, the Kenya Bankers Association noted that Pesalink, a recently introduced system that offers bank customers peer-to-peer money transfer services, has been a notable innovation that has enabled many to access affordable financial services from Kenya’s many lenders.