The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with more than 79 million people, is the second largest country in Africa. It is also among the poorest in the world. Over 60 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Successive armed conflicts, continuing to date, have internally displaced millions of people, many of whom have out-migrated to neighboring countries and beyond. Given this context, it is no surprise that DRC is one of the most underbanked countries in the world.
Reflecting these unique circumstances, FINCA's client base is marked by striking contrasts. Most of our borrowers work in the vast city of Kinshasa or other cities, yet nearly half of them have no access to clean water. They live in comparatively well-educated households, but the majority don't own their home. These contrasts illustrate that our clients in DRC have good prospects to gain a better quality of life, but they face major hurdles along the way.
Reaching the Financially Excluded
DRC presents enormous challenges to financial inclusion, including widespread poverty, lack of infrastructure, a sprawling geography and pervasive insecurity. Eighty-five percent of the population lacks access to a bank account, which is tied with Afghanistan as the highest rate of financial exclusion among FINCA countries. As a licensed bank, FINCA's biggest contribution is the provision of savings services, which reach over 347,000 people, providing the ease and security of a proper bank account for accumulating reserves.
Quality of Life
Despite the fact that most of our borrowers live in cities and towns, they struggle with the basic necessities of life. Nearly half have no water in their homes, though electricity is generally available. A little more than half do not own their home, which deprives them of an important means to accumulate wealth. On the positive side, the borrowers in DRC are among the most highly educated in the entire FINCA network; only 11 percent live in a household with less than secondary education.
Income & Employment
Income & Employment
The households we serve in DRC are different from their counterparts in the rest of Africa. Single-parent households are somewhat less common, although a disproportionate share of the women—44 percent—are their families' main source of income.