Financial inclusion: Basic theories and empirical evidence from African countries

Volume editor
Munacinga C. Simatele


Financial inclusion has been noted as a key driver of poverty alleviation and growth. Yet, most of the scholarly work that exists lacks a comprehensive discussion of how the poor interact with financial services and the channels through which such services can affect their livelihoods. This book offers researchers who focus on financial inclusion and African economies a one-stop resource for understanding the channels of transmission for financial inclusion as well as an application of these channels through original country-specific empirical papers.  The book provides a back-to-basics presentation of the transmission of financial services to growth and poverty.  This theoretical discussion is complemented by an empirical presentation of the various services used by the poor, with a focus on Africa.

Case studies of financial inclusion in six African countries cover a broad range of topics most important to African countries and highlight the unique African setting. These empirical papers provide important learning points. Firstly, hybrid financial institutions such as cooperative financial institutions and financial social entrepreneurs are the best way to increase financial inclusion in Africa. They provide important vehicles to circumvent the restrictive and exclusive bank-based financial markets typical of African economies. Secondly, digital finance is a potent tool for improving financial access and usage in Africa, and its impact on poverty operates through both traditional and nontraditional financial instruments. Thirdly, investment in infrastructure which supports complementary markets is critical and is likely to have a greater effect on credit rationing than direct provision of credit to small businesses.


  • Chapter 1
    Financial inclusion and the poor
    Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 2
    Financial inclusion and poverty: The transmission mechanisms
    Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 3
    Characterisation of financial services amongst the poor
    Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 4
    How digital finance affects poverty: The transmission mechanism view
    Ziphozethu Dube, Munacinga C. Simatele, Sibanisezwe Khumalo
  • Chapter 5
    DFSs, COVID-19 and future financial services landscape in Uganda
    George W. Ssonko, Duncan R. Kawooya
  • Chapter 6
    Where are the men? Understanding why men shun savings groups in rural Zambia
    Miselo Bwalya
  • Chapter 7
    The social economy and market failure in the financial sector: A case of Eswatini
    Phindile G. Dlamini, Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 8
    Financing of agricultural small, medium and microenterprises in Zimbabwe: Financing options and life-cycle challenges
    Gilbert Kichini, Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 9
    The effect of social capital on small business performance in Cameroon: A structural equation modelling approach
    Martin M. Kabange, Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 10
    Do DFIs help to alleviate poverty?
    Mzwanele Dlova, Munacinga C. Simatele
  • Chapter 11
    Social performance assessment of alternative financial institutions: Lessons from South Africa
    Syden Mishi, Farai B. Mushonga, Nomonde Tshabalala, Timothy Mutyavaviri
  • Chapter 12
    Financial inclusion in Africa: Lessons and implications
    Munacinga C. Simatele


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