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An exploratory study of financial inclusion in sub-saharan Africa

damane, moeti and Ho, Sin-Yu (2023): An exploratory study of financial inclusion in sub-saharan Africa.

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This study explores the development of financial inclusion in 37 Sub-Saharan Africa countries during 2005-2019. We first offer a conceptual definition and measurement of financial inclusion. We then discuss international initiatives and country-specific strategies to promote financial inclusion. We also document cross country trends in financial inclusion in the region and highlight general challenges before identifying possible solutions. We find that the extent of financial inclusion in the region varies across low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income economies, with lower-middle-income countries having higher access to and use of financial services. Furthermore, although financial inclusion in the region has improved over time, partly due to legislative initiatives, challenges remain, including lack of coordination, gaps between financial deepening and inclusion, low financial literacy, and gender discrimination. We recommend the need for stakeholder-focused national financial inclusion strategies and policy reforms based on peer learning and transformation.

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