Very few Africans have bank accounts and even fewer borrow from banks


Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7.37 PM / GGA


In most African countries, fewer than half of adults had a bank account and fewer than 10% borrowed from a formal financial institution in 2011, the latest figures available, according to the 2014 Africa Survey to be released October 28th by Good Governance Africa (GGA).


The Africa Survey is a comprehensive annual collection of political, economic and social indicators for all 55 countries on the continent. GGA obtained this information from the World Bank.


The share of adults with bank accounts is tiny. In 40 of 42 countries surveyed by the World Bank, fewer than half of adults had a bank account. Mauritius and South Africa were the only two countries where more than 50% of adults had a bank account, at 80% and 54% respectively. Niger had the lowest proportion at 1.5%.


More African adults borrowed from family or friends than from any other credit source in 2011. On average, 35% of the adults in each country borrowed money from a family member or friend, compared to only 5% who obtained loans from a formal financial institution. 


“Many ordinary citizens could radically improve their lives with the help of small loans,” said Karen Hasse, a GGA researcher. “The share of people borrowing from family and friends indicates a high demand for credit services, and a wide-open market for financial institutions to meet this demand.”



The GGA will be having a formal release of the 2014 Africa Survey on October 28th, 5.30pm for 6.00pm at GIBS, 22 Melville Road in Illovo. RSVP to

Related News