The DRC is emerging from decades of conflict. To this, as will be discussed in Section 4.1, is added severe infrastructure constraints and a vast and difficult to navigate topography. Almost half of all adults live in deep rural areas where they are all but cut off from the outside world. Subsistence agriculture plays a particularly important role. The agricultural industry employs 62% of the DRC’s men and 84% of its women (USAID, 2015). However, value chains are constrained and a significant proportion of food is imported. It is therefore not surprising that the bulk of the population does not yet share in the benefits of recent economic growth. Input Note 1 shows that only 7% of the population is formally employed. The rest make a living in the informal sector. Poverty is widespread. The average income is only USD 85 per month; 32% of adults earn less than USD 30, or approximately USD 1 per day; and 53% earn less than USD 3.30 per day.
The MAP approach sees financial inclusion as a means to an end – the end being improved welfare and an impact on those activities that contribute to production and economic growth. Effective financial systems can fuel real economy impacts at the macroeconomic level by mobilising savings for investment purposes (including capital allocation for business development), reducing transaction costs and increasing efficiency, thereby contributing to employment generation and growth. At the microeconomic or household level, financial inclusion can impact people’s welfare directly by reducing their transaction costs, enabling them to more efficiently manage risks, allocating capital for productive use and supporting the accumulation of wealth over time. Financial services can also facilitate access to core services, such as health or education. This can impact growth directly, by triggering service sectors, as well as indirectly, by enhancing productivity.