Kenya's has highest access rate to banking services in East Africa
According to the International Monetary Fund, Kenya has the best performing banking sector within the East African Community (EAC), which also includes Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.According to the International Monetary Fund, Kenya has the best performing banking sector within the East African Community (EAC), which also includes Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
Kenya has the highest access rate to banking services with 19 percent of households owning a bank account in 2010, while this number is 14 percent in Rwanda, according to figures from the African Development Bank.
The growth rate for loans to the private sector over the 2002-10 period was also 15 percent, according to figures from the IMF.
These good results are partly due to reforms introduced by the Kenyan government, with the creation of the first credit reference bureau in 2010.
The performance of the banking sector during the economic crisis was solid, thanks to an active monitoring of the central bank, which increased its monitoring activities in order to detect any dangers in the system.
Kenya has also witnessed the emergence of Equity Bank, which has contributed to improving access to banking services, according to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research called 'Improving Access to Banking: Evidence from Kenya', published in 2011.
Equity Bank is a pioneering institution that devised a banking service strategy targeting low income clients and traditionally under-served territories. It has played a role in integrating microfinance with formal finance.
The country has also seen a major innovation within the mobile banking sector.
M-Pesa is the first global network of money transfer via mobile phone. Launched by Safaricom/Vodafone in March 2007 in Kenya, it is now used by more than 14 millions clients within a population of 40 million.