Senior User Research Manager Teddy Kahiro provides details of Tala’s Money March Report on the State of the Economy from a survey the firm conducted between January and March at the Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi on 13th March, 2023. PHOTO / GARVIN PATRICK

2023 Money March Report Findings Describing the State of the Kenyan Economy

By Trepher Leslie and Garvin Patrick

Tala, a digital lending firm, has

released the findings of the state of

the Kenyan economy from a survey it

conducted between January and March


In this year’s Tala Money March Report

the Senior User Research Manager Teddy

Kahiro said that half of Kenyan

consumers are borrowing more compared

to six months ago with incidences of

those using more than three digital

lenders on the rise.

According to the report that

illuminates ‘State of the Economy’,

the rise is attributed to fewer full-

time jobs and declined alternative

sources of income forcing consumers to

borrow in order to pay for living

expenses in the face of growing


Kahiro stated that borrowing for

business purposes remained the top

reason for taking a loan as 67 percent

of respondents indicated that they

borrowed to meet business expenses and

add stock.

Compared to 2022, Kahiro continued,

this was a slight drop from last

year’s 78 percent as Kenyans shift

focus to meeting basic needs such as

school fees, utility bills, medical

care, rent and public transport amid

soaring cost of living.

“More generally, we are also seeing

Kenyans borrowing more, and it is

fascinating to note that over the last

six months, consumers have channeled

more of their loans to their savings

such as ‘Chama ’contributions. It

appears that customers are borrowing

from digital lenders to help keep pace

with their group contributions,

underlying the need for access to

affordable credit for continued

financial independence during

challenging economic times,” said


While speaking on spending habits, he

said that the report presented a

unique perspective on what respondents

were spending on.

The report, according to Kahiro,

revealed that Kenyans spent 25 percent

of their earnings in savings with

chamas, Saccos or fixed deposit

accounts, 22 percent on personal

expenses, 23 percent on utility bills

and a distant 15 percent on


Kahiro added that over half of

surveyed customers who said that they

were experiencing increased

expenditures over the last six months,

want more guidance on creating a

budget to manage expenses and that it

is a contrast from last year where

consumers wanted guidance on how to

start or grow businesses and save


“The hypothesis here could be that

people are holding onto money rather

than investing it in a new business

amidst the ongoing economic crunch,”

he noted.

At the same time, Tala General Manager

Munyi Nthigah said that empowering

their customers with education on how

to manage their finances has always

been a key objective for Tala and that

they believe financial resilience

among the underserved and under banked

Kenyan majority can be enormously

boosted by helping them understand how

money works in everyday life.

“Financial literacy is the only way to

help our customers build pathways to a

more sustainable and secure financial

future,” Nthigah maintained.

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