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Financial Inclusion in Africa

Bridging Economic Opportunities and Outcomes.

Financial Inclusion in Africa: Bridging Economic Opportunities and Outcomes

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Over the next 30 years, the African continent has been slated out to be the next growth market – according to regional and global economists, policymakers and development institutes alike. Afterall the continent does house nearly 17% of the global population. GDP growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has averaged 5% since the early 2000’s, over 400 million people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990 and it is the world’s youngest and fastest urbanizing continent with an exponentially growing graph for consumption. However, all this given, the narrative of a ‘Rising Africa’ seems to have lost its charm and hold on many. The continent’s meager contribution to the global GDP, standing at 3%, points us towards why. These numbers put together show us the past failure to tap into the continent’s growth potential. They also highlight the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead in the continent, if seized. And, the phenomenon of inclusive development lies at the heart of these opportunities and challenges. Inclusive growth as a concept has been globally proven to lift the vulnerable out of poverty and propel economies in a direction of sustained and holistic economic growth – benefitting all stakeholders of society, more so with the advent of globalization. For development to be sustainable, long lasting and impactful, it must be inclusive. This has added new impetus to the African growth story. Inclusivity in development is highly nuanced and multifaceted. Financial inclusion is key to achieving it. It is the path to addressing and solving some of the most pressing issues plaguing society – poverty, inequality and migration, among others. Financial services are fundamental to addressing these and achieving a wide set array of goals and aspirations. This report aims to analyse the progress in the financial inclusion space in Africa and the forces aiding it and acting as roadblocks in its path.