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Eliminating the exclusion of persons with disabilities from the financial sector

Challenges and Solutions for Financial Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in East Africa

The financial exclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in East Africa is a critical issue that is perpetuating poverty and hindering economic growth in the region, according to a recent report by the World Bank. PWDs in the global south face numerous barriers, including inaccessible banking services, lack of assistive technologies, and societal stigma.

In many East African countries, banking infrastructures are not designed to accommodate individuals with physical disabilities, leading to a lack of access to basic financial services for many PWDs. Despite the existence of inclusive policies, the implementation often falls short, leaving PWDs underserved and excluded from the financial system.

As a disability inclusion specialist from Uganda, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by PWDs in accessing financial services. While some countries like Rwanda have made progress with inclusive policies, others like Kenya and Uganda struggle with weak enforcement and lack of actionable steps to promote financial inclusion for PWDs.

The role of technology and financial education is crucial in enhancing inclusion for PWDs. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can make financial services more accessible, but the digital divide remains a significant hurdle in East Africa. Additionally, many PWDs lack financial education, perpetuating a cycle of exclusion and poverty.

Governments must ensure that policies promoting financial inclusion for PWDs are not only enacted but also rigorously enforced. This includes investing in accessible infrastructure, bridging the digital divide, providing financial education, and fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration to create an inclusive financial ecosystem.

The journey towards financial inclusion for PWDs in East Africa may be challenging, but with strong political will and concerted efforts from all sectors, significant progress can be achieved. As a global disability inclusion specialist, I remain committed to advocating for the financial empowerment of PWDs and breaking the cycle of poverty and exclusion in the region.


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