9 African Countries That Score Highest For Financial Inclusion

Written by Dana Sanchez

Mobile technology has accelerated financial inclusion for the so-called under served — people with inadequate access to traditional banking institutions — according to a newly released Brookings report.

African countries rank high and often on Brookings’ list of countries committed to financial inclusion.

Regional trends that emerge from the report indicate Africans are storing higher volumes of money on mobile accounts than people in other regions.

Mobile technology accelerates financial inclusion in places that lack legacy financial institutions, according to the report. A gender gap that persists in ownership of financial accounts could be reversed with greater access to mobile money services.

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project evaluates access to — and use of — affordable financial services by under-served people in 21 countries. Of these 21 countries, nine are in Africa including four of the top five scorers.

The Brookings Institution is a U.S. nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and education mainly in economics, but also in governance, domestic and foreign policy, and development.

The 2015 Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report and Scorecard ranks the 21 countries based on four aspects of financial inclusion: mobile capacity, regulatory environment, adoption of traditional and digital financial services and country commitment.

It turns out a country’s commitment does matter for achieving financial inclusion, according to the findings, Brookings reports.

Brookings evaluated access to — and use of — affordable financial services by under-served people in 21 countries.

The list below ranks the 9 African countries that score highest for financial inclusion on the Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project scorecard. We’ve started with the lowest-ranked country — Ethiopia — and worked our way up to the best. We saved the best for last, and included where each African country ranked out of 21 countries around the world.

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About Dana Sanchez
Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubail Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.