Financial services access increased overall to 83.7 per cent in 2021, from 82.9 per cent in 2019, mainly driven by the use of technology according to the FinAccess Household Survey Report 2021.
The FinAccess Household Survey, commonly referred to as FinAccess, is a series of surveys jointly conducted by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and FSD Kenya every two to three years to establish the level of financial inclusion, as well as to measure the drivers and usage of financial services in Kenya.
Of interest in this financial access survey is the adult population that reported to be completely excluded from accessing any form of financial services or products in the last 12 months. This number edged up to 11.6 per cent in 2021, from 11.0 per cent in 2019, highlighting the impact of COVID-19 restrictions that made it difficult for the youths turning 18 years to take national Identity (ID) Cards, which are necessary for direct access to formal financial service providers.
FinAccess Shows Products Continue to Deepen
The usage and quality of financial services and products continue to deepen, on account of increased adoption of technology and innovations, use of a portfolio of products and services; government policies; and private sector strategies.
Indeed, technology is acting as an equalizer among the genders, closing the rural-urban gap and across Counties.
The 2021 Household financial access Survey is unique in a number of ways. Firstly, this Survey was for the first time administered at the county level between June and September 2021.
This provides first-hand information on challenges and opportunities across all the forty-seven (47) counties in terms of financial inclusion.
Secondly, the financial access Survey was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore providing rich data on how the pandemic affected households’ interaction with financial services providers and products.
The financial access household Survey also covers the topical issues of green finance and the role of technology in shaping financial transactions. The inclusion of questions on climate-related developments, in particular, is timely as the Survey seeks to align finance to sustainable development.
The data collected at the county level also provides notable disparities. For instance, Kirinyaga, Nairobi and Machakos counties have the most diverse usage of financial service providers and products.
On the other hand, counties in the arid and semi-arid areas, such as Garissa, Wajir, Tana River and Marsabit, largely rely on mobile money, informal groups and insurance (mainly NHIF) for financial services as bank usage remains minuscule in these areas.
The informal usage is mostly in Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Siaya, Busia and Makueni counties, which reported the highest number of adults who use informal groups (Chamas), perhaps reflecting agricultural and small businesses activities.