WAEMU: Financial inclusion rate rose to 60.1% in 2019, with Côte d’Ivoire topping the ranking

Nov 12, 2020 | Ecofin Agency

The financial inclusion rate within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) grew to 60.1% in 2019 with Côte d’Ivoire now being the best performer. The figures were provided by the Central Bank (BCEAO) in its 2019 report on financial inclusion in the region.

This rate is 4.5 percentage points higher than in 2018 when the rate was 55.5%, according to the new report. BCEAO says the increase was motivated by a strengthening of the contribution of e-money to financial services in the region. The rate of use of e-money services increased by 5.4 percentage points to 39.6% in 2019.

By country, Côte d'Ivoire now has the highest financial inclusion rate (77.9%), now outperforming Benin (77.8%). Togo has 72.3%, Burkina Faso, and Senegal 70.9% and 70.0% respectively. Niger, for its part, has a financial inclusion rate of 17.5%, one of the lowest in the subregion despite an increase in 2018.

In terms of growth, Guinea-Bissau came first with its rate growing by 19.0 percentage points. Côte d'Ivoire came second with 10.8 percentage points, followed by Mali (+4.5 percentage points) and Benin (+3.4 percentage points).

In terms of banking services, Togo recorded the best performance of the union last year, like in 2018. The strict banking rate (TBS), which measures the percentage of the adult population holding an account in banks, postal services, national savings banks, and the Treasury reached 25.1% in the country, placing it ahead of Benin (24.8%), Burkina (23.2%) and Guinea-Bissau (20.3%) for a regional average of 18%.

The extended banking rate (which takes into account the strict banking rate and users of microfinance services) stood at 78.5% in Togo, the highest rate ahead of Benin (72.2%), Senegal (52.0%), and Burkina Faso (43.4%), for a regional average of 39.7%.

Let’s note that some rates have been revised to take into account the multi-banking phenomenon in the region, which consists of the holding by the same person of several accounts in one or more financial institutions.

Source: Ecofin Agency