Despite the numerous solutions that have emerged in the financial sector, there are a great number of the African population that is still grossly underserved.
True, some African countries might have improved financial inclusion rates when compared to other countries in Africa but on a global scale the rate is negligible.
Various factors contribute to the reduced financial inclusion rate in Africa, some of which includes a lack of adequate financial literacy, limited access to financial services, and a lack of financial infrastructure among others.
The innovations so far have sought to address these issues, but while it has helped, there is stillmore to do to get a good rate of financial inclusion in Africa as a whole.
This is where decentralization comes in, it can play a huge role in promoting financial inclusion in Africa as it would improve access to financial services more than ever experienced.
For instance, blockchain technology thrives on decentralization. As information stored in its block can be accessed by everyone on the network despite their location as long as there is an internet connection.
This can be a great tool for financial inclusion, as it would eliminate the infrastructure challenge providing people in such areas with a secure, transparent, and reliable way of accessing financial services. So, anyone no matter their location, can access financial services and products.
Decentralization can also promote financial inclusion through the establishment of a smaller financial ecosystem.
This would provide new opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access funds and other financial services.
Lending platforms that run on decentralization can provide access to funds for SMEs or individuals who otherwise wouldn’t access funds through the traditional lending system.
With decentralized financial platforms, the cost of transactions is reduced, and there is also greater transparency and security as records of financial transactions and information cannot be easily manipulated.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms that operate with blockchain technology allow for the creation of unprecedented financial products and services excitingly.
Africans will have greater financial autonomy over their financial lives. Having more options as opposed to what is obtainable at financial institutions as well as having reduced dependence on traditional financial systems like banks, which are centralized and oftentimes inaccessible.
Financial literacy can be improved with decentralization as well, the use of mobile money is a good example.
More people become aware of how to offer and access financial services, which in turn, promotes financial inclusion.
Decentralization will do a lot of good in promoting financial inclusion in Africa, however, the actualization of that potential depends on various factors such as internet penetration and connection, regulatory frameworks, and partnerships among others.
As decentralization is explored, it is important that the government, financial service providers, technology providers and every key player in the financial industry collaborate if financial inclusion must be achieved.
Having these factors in check will provide a supportive environment for decentralization to thrive
and in turn, increase financial inclusion.
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