Research in Brief 114

Financial inclusion – where individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, delivered in a responsible and sustainable way – is a critical component of economic development. It is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where there can be little traditional banking infrastructure.

The success of M-PESA in Kenya shows that mobile money is helping financial inclusion in the region. Those in rural or underserved areas can use mobile money to access basic financial services – savings, payments, and credit – through their mobile phones. This is critical for impoverished households, helping them to manage their finances, build resilience, and participate more actively in the economy.

Financial inclusion aligns with broader development goals, such as poverty reduction and gender equality, by empowering marginalised groups, including women and small-scale entrepreneurs. However, taxation policies can be a threat to the adoption of mobile money in Africa. This study assesses the short and long-term impact of the Kenyan excise duty on the use of mobile money. Summary of ICTD Working Paper 168.


Awa Diouf

Awa is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the ICTD and an economist specialising in public finance in developing and transition countries. She holds a doctorate from the Université Clermont Auvergne in France, and the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), a think tank based in Senegal.

Marco Carreras

Marco Carreras is an economist by training and works in development economics, focusing on development banks, agricultural economics, energy and corporate taxation. He is a post-doctoral fellow working on the DIGITAX team in the ICTD.

Fabrizio Santoro

Fabrizio is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and the Research Lead for the second component of the ICTD's DIGITAX Research Programme. His main research interests relate to governance, public finance, and taxation, with a strong focus on impact evaluation methodologies and statistical analysis. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex.
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