Seeking sustainable change in Africa’s financial systems

Launched on 4 June 2015 alongside the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, this report is the result of a research by FSD Africa in conjunction with the Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP).

Despite strong evidence of the potential for large market revenue from low income banking consumers in SSAmost financial sector players are not prioritising this under-served segment. This originates from their strategic positioning as well as internal capacity constraints.

This paper starts by recognising the need for change and capacity building for financial services players to successfully develop new models that would enable them to profitably exploit the revenue potential in under-served segments. It identifies a set of success criteria for organisations seeking to trigger and sustain change necessary to drive business models that would effectively and profitably serve low consumer segments.

Professional services providers also play a critical role in supporting financial institutions with successfully managing the change process. The paper identifies how services providers can be successfully leveraged to support the change process within financial institutions.

Development sector organisations have played a big role in the past supporting the increase in depth and breadth of financial access in SSA, albeit not in a sustainable, market-building manner. The paper identifies how development sector organisations can work more effectively with the financial sectors and professional services providers on inclusive financial sector development and building sustainable financial markets.

A key insight from the paper is that: by working together, the three sectors (financial institutions, services providers and development organisations) can leverage each others’ strengths to de-risk the process of inclusive financial sector development. Specifically:

  • Experienced service providers and development organisations can provide change management support to reduce the risk of financial institutions moving into new, underserved markets.
  • Development organisations can provide support to reduce the selling and engagement risks of professional services providers involved with financial inclusion targeted financial institutions.
  • Experienced services providers can provide guidance to mitigate the risks inherent to development organisation support of financial institution change management processes.