research themes | Informal Financial Services

The informal financial services cluster looks at the informal market and formally excluded populations. These populations are not well understood due to an overemphasis on the formally included populations. To understand these markets better, we need to employ new measurement dimensions that help us understand the drivers and barriers to formal financial inclusion.

We will look at what makes informal financial products attractive to consumers, based on the following domains:

  • Demography
  • The use of informal financial institutions/arrangements and channels
  • The drivers of using informal mechanisms
  • Barriers to using formal mechanism
  • A proxy for the cash (or in-kind) economy
  • Existing linkages to the formal economy
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Lower documentation requirements; driving greater financial ...

While financial inclusion has risen to 68% globally, Sub Saharan Africa continues to lag with only 32% of its citizens having an account at a financial institution. This translates to over 400 million Africans who are not making use of formal banking and other financial services. One of the greatest impediments to account ownership is […]

Deepening Financial Inclusion
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Shoprite Lesotho cross-border remittance product achieves R1...

The Shoprite cross-border money remittance product reached the R1 billion mark in January, after just three years of it being implemented between SA and Lesotho. The cost of a transfer of R900 is 2%, which is one of the cheapest cross-border products in the world. A remittance is when a person sends money, usually small […]

SADC Payments and Remittances
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Hackathon: 2018 Lesotho SIMM Hackathon Report

Access to formal and semi-formal financial services is limited in Lesotho, especially for low-income and rural populations. The majority of Basotho are excluded from the formal credit system, while restricted accessibility and high pricing of banking products further limits uptake. The Lesotho Government has identified a lack of access to financial services as a major […]

SADC FI
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The Value of Savings Groups and Stokvels for Financial Inclu...

The emphasis of financial inclusion is now on how more competitive financial markets can work better for poor people (Porteous, 2004). It acknowledges that increasing financial inclusion requires a better understanding of how services, formal and informal, can meet people’s needs (Ledgerwood and Jethani, 2013). The current economic situation in South Africa presents a large […]

SA FI
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Impact Evaluation of Savings Groups and Stokvels in South Af...

The emphasis of financial inclusion is now on how more competitive financial markets can work better for poor people (Porteous, 2004). It acknowledges that increasing financial inclusion requires a better understanding of how services, formal and informal, can meet people’s needs (Ledgerwood and Jethani, 2013). The current economic situation in South Africa presents a large […]

SA FI