Mauritius has been lauded for giving its citizens a high level of access to banking facilities: the island economy boasts the highest level of financial inclusion in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The findings of the FinScope Consumer Mauritius 2014 survey were released on October 3 2014. The survey was conducted by FinMark Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
FinScope was launched in 2002 by the FinMark Trust based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a comprehensive study of financial inclusion, looking at how people source their income and manage their financial lives.
The survey covered 4000 interviews across both Mauritius and Rodrigues, targeting adults of 18 years and above. The findings showed that 90% of adults enjoy access to most facilities including financial services and only 10% of adults are financially excluded. The survey also reveals that the level of financial inclusion is higher among males than females.
Overall, it states that 85% of the adult population use banking services, 49% use non-bank or other formal products and services and 26% use informal mechanisms to manage their finances.
The survey also considers other formal non-bank products and services and informal products. Concerning savings, the findings show that 65% of adults have savings at a bank and through formal non-banking savings mechanisms. During the 12 months preceding the survey, the findings show that about 52% of adults claimed to have either borrowed money or taken goods on credit and this trend is higher in Rodrigues, among males and in urban areas. With regard to insurance, concerning mainly motor vehicles and life insurance, it reveals that a majority of 75% of adults perceive insurance as a mode of protection. The survey indicates the low use of remittances in Mauritius, being six percent with higher usage of banking. The findings indicate that only two percent of adults are registered users of the new service mobile money, which can mostly be associated to a lack of information.
The survey recommends that financial literacy campaigns could prove valuable to assist in the financial decision-making of adults.