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Delivering Financial Services in Sub-Saharan Africa

think: act CONTENT

2011

For decades microfinance has appeared to be the key to alleviating poverty and accomplishing sustainable growth throughout countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The industry drew the attention of the development world, attracting money and spurring innovation.

Despite efforts to reach mass markets, microfinance has yet to bridge large geographic, administrative and cultural gaps between institutions and low-income Africans. In fact, the industry serves less than 5% of Africa’s adult population. Often, microfinance institutions do not bring their business to the countryside. A large portion of African farmers, traders, small business owners and laborers, especially in rural areas and poor suburbs, still do not have access to basic banking services taken for granted elsewhere. It is now time to rethink how to deliver financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In this report, under the auspices of the IFC's Access to Finance Advisory Group, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants examines new solutions to the challenges of providing affordable financial services to Africans in both urban and rural areas. We evaluate how best to provide a larger array of essential financial products including savings accounts, loans, money transfer, and insurance to people previously left out of the traditional banking system.

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