A number of reasons can be given for this, including low literacy levels, the big role played by the informal economy, low household incomes, ignorance about the banking system, and the lack of infrastructure such as branch networks. Banking collapses in some countries the late 1980s also caused a serious loss of credibility for banks.
Banks themselves play a key part in the level of penetration. Experts say they need to ensure their services are secure and then adapt them to different parts of the population to facilitate access.
As long as the number of people with bank accounts remains small, these countries have unused savings potential which could enable banks to exercise their role in financing the economy and creating growth.
“African countries have low bank penetration and small branch networks, which offers very attractive opportunities for banks,” a report by Attijari Intermédiation, a stock market offshoot of Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank, said.
The report focussed on countries such as
For example, Attijariwafa Bank’s control of
The conquest of African markets can take the form of wide-scale branch openings, but also through the use of mobile telephony for payments. Mobile banking can lead to a rapid increase in access to banking services, the pioneer being