Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Innovation and Performance of Enterprises in Sierra Leone
Djossou, Gbetoton Nadege
Sandy, James Fomba
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According to the World Bank’s Global Findex data1 , only 20 percent, 25 percent, and 15 percent of Sierra Leone’s total population aged above 15 years, male population and female population own a bank account in 2017, respectively. This is well below the average of 42.6% for SSA (WB, 2020) and implies that a significant proportion of the population, and women in particular, are financially excluded. Furthermore, mobile money penetration rate is low in the country. Only 11 percent ofthe population aged more than 15 years own a mobile money account. Also, only 14 percent of male population and 9 percent of female population own mobile money account (WB, 2020). The lowfinancial inclusion pattern is also reflected amongMSMEs in the country. The World Bank Enterprises Survey data collected in 2017 for Sierra Leone suggest that of the 150 firms surveyed, only 48 (32%) use mobile money for their transactions. Also, the majority of these firms only used the mobile money services to receive payment from customers. This situation has compelled the government to roll out relevant interventions to promote financial inclusion in recent years. These include the adoption of a national strategy for financial inclusion (2017-2020) and the provision of support for FinTech innovation. The national strategy has a broad vision “to make financial services available, accessible and affordable to all Sierra Leoneans and enterprises, and support inclusive and resilient private-sector-led growth (BoSL, 2016).