Paper

Savings and Retail Banking in Africa

Results from 2019 WSBI survey

Based on survey data harvested from 37 financial service providers (FSPs) in Africa, the report finds that they see low-income markets as more and more viable for their operations. Hosting about 12 percent of Africa’s retail bank accounts and 26 percent of accounts in countries covered by the survey, these providers are responding with new accounts, products, and fee structures. Their efforts to win new customers, however, too often fail to appeal, and accounts lapse into inactivity.

The 2019 report builds on the 2018 edition and goes beyond the WSBI membership to a broader set of FSPs in more African markets in the previous version. It also draws on a richer data set and includes case studies that highlight innovation, partnerships, and listening to people’s needs on the ground, thinking differently about how to serve them. The study also explores banks' preferred channels, namely mobile banking and roving agents and flags regulatory concerns such as Know-Your-Customer rules and the need for frameworks set by governments that enable innovation.