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Financial Sector Development

Anchored by Making Finance Work for Africa, the financial sector development program takes the approach that finance is a leading sector in transforming African economies. African finance has been strengthened by a wave of reforms since the 1990s but despite recent growth, African financial systems remain shallow and lack of access to finance by households and firms is a major barrier to business activity, particularly for small enterprises. Efficient and innovative domestic financial systems will put African countries on a stronger and sustainable growth path— mobilizing and channeling resources more effectively and opening-up business opportunities to a wider clientele.

Towards this end, our work includes:

  • Strengthening financial sector governance
  • Crisis preparedness
  • Strengthening risk-based supervisory capacity
  • Promoting regional integration via a common financial infrastructure and supervision
  • Facilitate SME financing, mobile banking and remittances
  • Consumer protection and financial literacy initiatives
  • Partnering with other donors for MFW4A

Our current focus is on:

  • Global financial crisis: the short-to-medium term impact of the crisis on SSA is still being felt via the dampening of private capital flows, a general drying up of international liquidity, and the effect of the “real” slowdown on the health of the financial sector. In the longer run, the issue is the impact of the reshaping of the global financial architecture currently under discussion, including supervisory and regulatory norms, on SSA. Where will SSA (especially low-income countries) fit in the new scheme of things?
  • Financial inclusion: Improved data collection has highlighted awareness of the need to enhance access and the range of products available to certain groups (MSMEs, small savers, etc). The rapid escalation in the use of mobile technology to transfer money is one of the more attention-grabbing developments in this context. Similarly, migrant remittances to Africa are increasing steadily and innovations to reduce the cost and risk of such transfers through the use of new technologies and information sharing mechanisms have also made inroads to the unbanked. Such developments are beginning to redefine the boundaries of who provides financial services (banks, MTO, telecoms) to whom, how, and where.
  • Pan-African banks: there have been significant changes in the African bankscape over the last decade or so. While foreign ownership is still a common feature of many banking sectors increasingly this ownership can be traced to South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya rather than Europe. Driven by a number of factors pan-African banks have been pursuing sub-regional integration oftentimes ahead of the institutional initiatives to integrate markets. The spread of cross-border banking allows for the realization of economies of scale and overcomes many of the problems that plague small, inefficient banking systems. At the same time it increases the demand for stronger regulatory and supervisory mechanisms.

Recent presentations

  • Making Finance Work for Uganda: Challenges and Recommendations (Michael Fuchs and Ravi Ruparel; December 2009, Kampala, Uganda)
  • Webcast: Thomson Reuters and EMTA Forum: Is Africa back in business? (Michael Fuchs; November 2009, London, UK)
  • Making Finance Work for Nigeria (Michael Fuchs; November 2009, Abuja, Nigeria)


Financial Sector Monitoring Notes

Senior Staff in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Alwaleed Fareed Alatabani (Khartoum, Sudan)
  • Djibrilla Adamou Issa (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
  • Guillemette Sidonie Jaffrin (Yaounde, Cameroon)
  • Ismail Radwan (Abuja, Nigeria)
  • Korotoumou Ouattara (Dakar, Senegal)
  • Ravi Ruparel (Kampala, Uganda)
  • Samuel Munzele Maimbo (Maputo, Mozambique)
  • Yira J. Mascaro (Nairobi, Kenya)

Senior Staff in Washington D.C.

  • Michael Fuchs
  • Michel Noel

For an interactive map displaying the location of staff across Africa, see

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