A Little Bit Of Perspective On ‘Financial Inclusion’ and the NGO World

Let me give you guys a little bit of perspective on “financial inclusion” , the NGO world and the never-ending headlines of saving the poor

The White Man's Burden
“The White Man’s Burden (Apologies to Rudyard Kipling)” Judge, 1 Nisan 1899, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Let me give you guys a little bit of perspective on “financial inclusion” , the NGO world and the never ending headlines of saving the poor.

There is a massive NGO network (con) built around the idea of “financial inclusion” – layered on the premise that the poor people of Kenya and Africa need loans and bank accounts.  This network is mainly funded by the Gates Foundation and major aid development agencies – UKAID, USAID et al.

On the face of it, it all sounds fine and dandy, but when you get out there on the ground you find out what is really happening is they are funding a loan shark network. Lend money to poor people at ridiculously high interest rates, and when they cannot pay, sometimes they even take their kids in payment of the debt.  And you can guess what happens to those kids. (i kid)

What we found when talking with the NGOs and the banks in Nairobi is that none of them give a rats arse about SAVINGS.  All they want to do is give people LOANS, and a BANK account.

I found this to be at odds with the spirit of financial inclusion which is to empower people to become self-sufficient through savings, investments, borrowing money and insurance – in whatever form. People do not necessarily need banks to do this, evident from the millions of indigenous community banks universally accepted across the African continent – Chamas in Kenya, Djanggi in Cameroun, Asusu in Nigeria/Ghana, Likelemba in Congo DRC, Paare in Chad, Gameya in Egypt, Khatta in Soudan et al.

So in its current form, “financial inclusion” really should be understood to mean trying to extend the banking cartel for another generation by bringing in 4 billion new suckers into the bottom of the pyramid.

The trouble is, nobody has ever borrowed themselves into prosperity.  Credit works when it is commensurate to your rate of earning and savings. So you cannot offer credit to the poor as a form of salvation unless you are also helping them work out the earning and savings part at the same time.

If you want to help people get ahead, the way to do that is to teach them how to earn, and how to save and invest a portion of their earnings into a nest egg.

But 99% of the NGO industry is focused on micro-lending. The reality is that most NGOs muck things up worse than they were before they got involved. NGOs are fundamentally organizations that constantly have to justify themselves and why donors should give them money. 

A lot of these African NGOs are funded by USAID which is more interested in establishing a fifth column of youth they can use to overthrow the dictator of said country when they decide they want or need to do that.  So the source of the money is not really interested in the advertised result that they supposedly are working towards – alleviation of poverty.

The term “financial inclusion” has been co opted by interests with a worldview that perpetuates the monopoly of banks.

It is my personal belief from my years on the ground that the NGOs pushing “financial inclusion” are ultimately working for the slave master agenda, though they don’t usually realize it. So you have wonderful people with good intentions. But after a few years or decades some of them figure it out (the con).

Thanks to my friend Bob for this timely rant. Bob has strong opinions on the state of financial inclusion industry in Kenya as an outsider looking in and also having lived and worked in the industry in Kenya.


Author: Michael Kimani

Consultant, Entrepreneur, Researcher, Writer, Digital Assets Investor and Trader,

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