Case Study – Using Information as a Driver of Change: Lessons from FinScope South Africa

In August 2016, FSD Africa launched a case study series on the art of financial market facilitation with a desire to learn more about the art of market facilitation in action. In response, and in partnership with CGAPDCED and the FSD Network, FSD Africa commissioned the Springfield Centre to prepare a suite learning case studies.

The seven case study series includes one FSD Kenya case study looking at Ten Years of a Market Systems Approach in the Kenyan Finance Market and FSD Network mini-cases – six short case studies of individual financial sector development projects by FSDs from across the FSD Network including: Savings Groups looking at Formalising Informality: Savings Groups, Community Finance and the Role of FSD Kenya, M-Shwari and SACCOs (FSD Kenya), the Enterprise Growth Market (FSD Tanzania), FinScope South Africa (FinMark Trust), and Micro-insurance market development in Zambia (FSD Zambia)

The second of these six mini-cases has now been released – Using Information as a Driver of Change: Lessons from FinScope South Africa.

FinScope, a research tool developed by FinMark Trust, is a nationally representative survey of how individuals source their income and manage their financial lives in South Africa. Created in 2002, FinScope arose in response to the dearth of data on financial inclusion in South Africa and has effectively served to fill this information gap ever since. FinMark Trusts analysis led it to understand that lack of information causes sub-optimal decision-making, by policy makers, advocacy organisation and financial service providers.

FinScope surveys have an ambitious range of objectives, from tracking access and usage to highlighting product development opportunities and providing insights for policy reform and the regulatory framework. By providing a means to measure financial inclusion, FinScope has a pathway connecting to the ultimate goal and objectives of FinMark Trust. FinScope is widely perceived to have been transformative. It has become a robust methodological framework and a well-recognised brand across Africa and beyond.