Survey confirms few sub-Saharan Africans have bank accounts

Jun 18, 2010

Recent Gallup surveys of 18 sub-Saharan African countries reveals that only two out of five residents have personal bank accounts. Most sub-Saharan Africans have savings, though, but these are mainly in non-currency forms, such livestock and material goods.

Access to banking is often included among the most important components of economic independence. In sub-Saharan Africa, those who do have bank accounts tend to be wealthy and live in urban areas: in a region where minimum deposits amount in some cases to an entire year's wages, two thirds of the respondents mentioned not having enough money as a reason for not having a bank account. Among the richest 20 percent of residents, 38 percent have bank accounts, but just 11 percent of the poorest fifth of society do. Additionally, the survey shows significant geographical and gender gaps: while in South Africa 49 percent of the population has a bank account, the survey shows that only 1 percent of residents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger put money in banks. In addition, only 16 percent of woman respondents say they have an account, compared to 23 percent of men. To read the full survey report, please click here.