Alternative Data and Market Dynamics in MSEs Lending in Kenya: Market Context Report

Report Summary

This market context report reflects input that FinRegLab gathered in 2023 from extensive interviews and deliberations by two working groups, including leaders in industry, government, academia, and international nonprofit organizations in Kenya. The report finds that current market conditions may present a unique window to build on substantial interest among industry, advocates, and policymakers in using non-conventional data sources such as digital wallet information and supply chain records for credit scoring and underwriting.

However, because there is no single, readily available source that would provide insight into all micro and small enterprises (MSEs), the report concludes that assessing multiple individual sources and building a platform to support access to the most promising and cost-efficient data would be more helpful to women-owned MSEs than executing a series of incremental initiatives that may tend to concentrate on larger, more formal businesses. As a follow-up to the market context report, FinRegLab is initiating an empirical study in 2024.


This Market Context Report is part of an initial exploration of the use of alternative data in credit underwriting of MSEs in emerging markets. Support for this publication was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The research project and market context research described in this report benefitted from CIS Kenya’s input.

We would like to extend a special note of appreciation for their leadership and facilitation of FinRegLab’s working groups to Jared Getenga, CIS Kenya; Juliet Ongwae; and Anup Singh, MSC.

FinRegLab would like to thank the individuals and organizations who participated in the working groups as listed in Appendix A of the report and stakeholders who participated in interviews.

Lastly, we would like to acknowledge the FinRegLab team who worked on various elements of this research project: Natalia Bailey, Nick Bourke, Kelly Thompson Cochran, Sarah Davies, Gillous Harris, Tess Johnson, Jacquelyn Reineke, and Sten te Vogt. In particular, we would like to recognize Sarah Davies and Sten te Vogt for their work in writing this report.

  • Data for Underwriting MSEs in Emerging Markets

    FinRegLab is investigating the financial inclusion and consumer protection implications of using new data sources for credit underwriting of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Kenya with a particular focus on women-owned small businesses. Learn More

About FinregLab

FinRegLab is an independent, nonprofit organization that conducts research and experiments with new technologies and data to drive the financial sector toward a responsible and inclusive marketplace. The organization also facilitates discourse across the financial ecosystem to inform public policy and market practices. To receive periodic updates on the latest research, subscribe to FRL’s newsletter and visit Follow FinRegLab on LinkedIn and Twitter (X). | 1701 K Street Northwest, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20006