Financial Inclusion: Benin has the highest bank rate of WAEMU



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The bank rate in Benin is 27.2%. The efforts made by financial institutions in the implementation of financial assistance points in Benin are giving results. According to the latest annual report of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) on financial inclusion, the country recorded the highest level of banking activity in WAEMU at a rate of 27.2%.

In 2017, Benin climbed to the top of the UEMOA countries, with a bank rate of 27.2%. Behind him, Togo registered one of the 24.3 per cent, Burkina (22.2 per cent), Senegal (19.6 per cent) and Côte d'Ivoire (16.6 per cent) and Niger (4.1 per cent). %).

In Benin, a number of initiatives have been taken to improve people's access to financial products and services. These initiatives include work related to the development of national strategies for financial inclusion.

Thus, the year 2017 marked the beginning of a survey on the demand for financial services as part of the development of the national financial inclusion strategy. It should make it possible to know the reference situation of the use of financial products and services by the populations.

According to the BCEAO experts' analysis, Benin, with 371 points of service per 1,000 km2 in 2017, has the highest rate in the Union. Next, Togo and Senegal, whose geographic distribution of access points are, respectively, 265 and 206 points of financial services per 1,000 km2. Niger, with 17 financial service points in 1,000 km2, performs poorly at this level.

In addition, nominal interest rates applied by banks to customer deposits decreased slightly by 0.09 percentage points to 5.28% in 2017, down from 5.37% in 2016.

The highest nominal interest rate was recorded in Benin (5.85%), followed by Burkina (5.67%) and Niger (5.70%). Guinea-Bissau and Mali, on the other hand, presented the least attractive rates, with 4.07% and 4.92%, respectively.

Micro finance

Taking into account users of microfinance services, the Union Banking Extended Banking (EBR) rate stood at 35.9% in 2017, compared to 35.3% in 2016, an increase of 0.6 point percentage percentage

The highest rate was recorded in Togo (73.7%), followed by Benin (64.0%), Senegal (47.9%) and Burkina (41.1%). Guinea-Bissau, with an EBIT of 11.5% in 2017, appears as the country of the Union that performed poorly in this area.

By country, Benin has the highest rate of financial inclusion (82.1%), followed by Togo (79.6%), Burkina (68.8%) and Senegal (64.1%). and Côte d'Ivoire (60.7%). In contrast, Guinea-Bissau has a financial inclusion rate of 13.8%.

In terms of progress, the most significant was recorded in Burkina (+22.3 pp), followed by Benin (+13.1 pp) and Côte d'Ivoire (+10.3 pp). The latter has the highest rate of use of electronic money services in the EU in 2017 (45.9%) and alone accounts for 37.5% of the active subscribers of these services. The BCEAO annual report on financial inclusion analyzes the state of financial inclusion in WAEMU member states during 2017, analyzing the evolution of the seven indicators selected by the Central Bank.

In particular: the overall rate of demographic penetration of financial services (TGPSFd); the global geographical penetration rate of financial services (TGPSFg); the strict bank rate (TBS); the rate of expanded banking (TBE); the global rate of utilization of financial services (TGUSF); the nominal interest rate on deposits (TINd); the nominal interest rate of credits (TINc). These are grouped around three dimensions of financial inclusion, ie "access," "use," and "accessibility."

Measures to strengthen financial inclusion

Although the financial inclusion situation in WAEMU improved overall in 2017, thanks to initiatives taken by various stakeholders to create favorable conditions for the use of financial services, the Central Bank emphasized that efforts remain to be made.

In order to make financial services more accessible to the population, it is recommended to: strengthen the statistical system for monitoring financial inclusion; the establishment of a more effective piloting and coordination system for the regional strategy and the support of the National Monitoring Committees for implementation.

In order to respond to these challenges, a Directorate, entirely dedicated to financial inclusion, has been set up at the Issuance Office to make the BCEAO's policies visible and understandable in promoting financial inclusion and to ensure that all stakeholders have regular, relevant and accessible information on progress in this area.

In terms of perspectives, "discussions with technical and financial partners, who have shown interest in supporting the Issuing Institute in the implementation of the Regional Strategy on Financial Inclusion, should lead to the signing of a partnership, in particular with the Swiss Cooperation, the African Development Bank and the French Development Agency.

In addition, a regional financial education program at WAEMU should also be developed by the Central Bank to strengthen the efforts of the various stakeholders, "the report said. Several studies are planned in the coming months.

These studies will focus on the state of digitalization of WAEMU payments; the price situation of financial services; the demand for financial services in UEMOA and the establishment of a unique identification system for users of the UEMOA financial system.

per Félicienne HOUESSOU

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