Kenya is seen widely as a ‘stand out’ success story on financial inclusion. The ten-year period from 2005 to 2015 witnessed enormous change in the financial sector. In 2015, two-thirds of the adult population have access to formal financial services compared with one-quarter in 2005; eight million more people have gained access to services. Finance providers, previously little engaged with and in retreat from the mass, low-income market, are now innovating and expanding.
These changes have coincided with the life of FSD Kenya, an organisation formed in 2005 to facilitate financial inclusion, with a distinctive approach – market systems development or ‘making markets work for the poor’ (M4P), and a distinctive organisational form – an independent trust. This case study is about FSD Kenya, the role it has played in Kenya and what can be learned from this. It shows that FSD Kenya’s contribution to financial inclusion, while varying between individual activities, has been substantial in aggregate, and that, globally (beyond Kenya), there are important lessons emerging from this experience for development funding and facilitating organisations.