Photo: ricfrancis

Steps to increased financial inclusion of poor households in Kenya

Majority of the poor are locked out of formal financial systems; with little or no access to formal financial services that can help them increase their income and improve their lives. FSD Kenya

Indicators on financial inclusion include:

  1. Bank Accounts opened
  2. Mobile Accounts opened
  3. Accounts with other Financial Institutions- SACCOs
  4. Usage of Account in the past one year
  5. Access to account opening: Financial and mobile Accounts
  6. Savings in the past year
  7. Other digital payments in the past year
  8. Credit in the past year

The 1st step to financial inclusion is access to cash.

Statistics state that 61% of Kenyan adults are gainfully employed. 67% of them hold mobile accounts, 28% holding bank accounts and 11% holding Non-Bank Financial Institutions accounts.

The poor households rely mostly on odd jobs to make their money. Women help in steering and shaping these families’ finances in whichever direction. They are the bosses on what percentage goes into food, clothing and most of the house hold expenses.

They however form the bulk of the people with little or no financial planning education. More efforts on their education and actual follow ups should be made in this regard.

Financial Inclusion starts with better data. Kathleen Yaworsky

The data helps us understand deeper what financial products under-banked consumers and poor households need and want. The progress made all depends on the quality of data at hand. Quality data creates the ability to know the right product to offer to the right client at the right time.

Most women in Kenya are in chamas. This is where they save, borrow and often get their advice on money from. Juggling two or three chamas is a way of life in the village. How organised are the chamas and what is the main agenda on their table? The concern on Financial Inclusion thus shifts to the chamas. How do they bank, who offers them financial advice, are they multi-banked?


With this in mind, institutions aiming to promote financial inclusion need to take a closer look at the numbers and create programs that empower the poor households and the chamas.