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Financial inclusion in Africa : an overview


  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli
  • Klapper, Leora


This paper summarizes financial inclusion across Africa. First, it provides a brief overview of the African financial sector landscape. Second, it uses the Global Financial Inclusion Indicators (Global Findex) database to characterize adults in Africa that use formal and informal financial services and identify the barriers to formal account ownership. Next, it uses World Bank Enterprise Survey data to examine how the use of financial services by small and medium enterprises in Africa compares with small and medium enterprises in other developing regions in terms of account ownership and availability of lines of credit. The authors find that less than a quarter of adults in Africa have an account with a formal financial institution and that many adults in Africa use informal methods to save and borrow. Similarly, the majority of small and medium enterprises in Africa are unbanked and access to finance is a major obstacle. Compared with other developing economies, high-growth small and medium enterprises in Africa are less likely to use formal financing, which suggests formal financial systems are not serving the needs of enterprises with growth opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Financial inclusion in Africa : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6088, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6088

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Laeven, Luc & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2006. "The determinants of financing obstacles," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 932-952, October.
    2. Thorsten Beck & Samuel Munzele Maimbo & Issa Faye & Thouraya Triki, 2011. "Financing Africa : Through the Crisis and Beyond," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2355, March.
    3. World Bank, 2008. "Finance for All? Policies and Pitfalls in Expanding Access," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6905, March.
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    1. repec:mth:ber888:v:7:y:2017:i:1:p:189-198 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Barry, Thierno Amadou & Tacneng, Ruth, 2014. "The Impact of Governance and Institutional Quality on MFI Outreach and Financial Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-20.
    3. Degryse, Hans & Lu, Liping & Ongena, Steven, 2016. "Informal or formal financing? Evidence on the co-funding of Chinese firms," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 31-50.

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    Access to Finance; Banks&Banking Reform; Emerging Markets; Debt Markets; E-Business;

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