Michael Atingo-Ego, deputy governor, BOU addressing financial sector stakeholders in Kampala. Looking on is Weselina Angelow (C) from Scale2save and Grace Gwaku from PSFU
Ali Twaha
Journalist @New Vision

The World Savisng and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)’s programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, has called on financial service providers to build solutions that are inclusive for all.

“We focus on adding value to all stakeholders along the service value chain by empowering our financial service provider partners to become savings-driven, customer-centric institutions,” Weselina Angelow, Scale2Save Programme Director, said.

She made the remarks while making a keynote address during the Scale2Save conference in Kampala on April 27. Scale2Save is a six-year programme of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

It seeks to establish the viability of low-balance savings accounts across six African countries. Centenary, Finca, and Brac are partners under the programme in Uganda.

The two-day knowledge-sharing conference brought together key financial stakeholders, officials from government, and the private sector to discuss how they can work jointly towards creating financially inclusive products.

The WSBI’s 2019 financial service provider survey reveals that attitudes to financial inclusion and low-value savings among financial service providers in Uganda and other key markets in Africa are being significantly transformed as they have intensified their focus on customers, targeting different groups with tailored accounts and savings products.

A study conducted by FSD Uganda in 2018 shows that only 10% of the population save with formal financial institutions. Despite the significant progress recorded so far, stakeholders believe that there is still a long way to go to attain a satisfactory level of financial inclusion.

Michael Atingi-Ego, deputy governor, Bank of Uganda, said, “Financial illiteracy is a major barrier to financial inclusion.  What we see is a situation where a lot of Ugandans still have this overdependence on the informal financial sector.

"It takes a long trust-building process to switch them from the informal sector they are familiar with into the formal sector. This is why most of the financial service providers have adopted agency banking where people within the neighbourhood are used as bank representatives."

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