Burundi: New report highlights the need to improve financial inclusion

Sep 07, 2012

A new report urged the government of Burundi to pursue its education and poverty reduction programs and encouraged banks to adopt new strategies to expand their customer base in a bid to improve financial inclusion.

A new report urged the government of Burundi to pursue its education and poverty reduction programs and encouraged banks to adopt new strategies to expand their customer base in a bid to improve financial inclusion.

The authors of the survey called for the development of mobile banking solutions, the creation of a new branch dedicated to microfinance, the establishment of an office for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the deployment of a network of branches in rural areas of the country.

They also urged the country's central bank to increase its supervision of financial institutions and to compel commercial banks to invest a percentage of their loan portfolio in agricultural sector and SMEs.

Funded by the German cooperation and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the survey was conducted across 17 provinces of the country over two months.

Four aspects were considered: the provision of services, access to services, the usage and quality of services.

The investigation revealed that the financial inclusion rate in Burundi is currently at 12.5 per cent.

According to Diane Niyonzima, who took part in this study, several factors may explain this low rate, including poverty and the low level of education amongst the population, especially in rural areas, reports Xinhua news agency.

Other factors mentioned are the lack of financial products adapted to the need of populations, the remoteness of the financial service points as well as the high minimum deposit required to open an account and the "exaggerated" guarantees required by the banks.

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