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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Economics

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

James K. Boyce

Second Advisor

Leonce Ndikumana

Third Advisor

James Heintz

Subject Categories

Economics | Finance | Growth and Development | Macroeconomics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This dissertation, consisting of three essays, uses data from field surveys of banks and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) conducted in South Sudan and Kenya from July 2011 through September 2012. The first essay examines the role of financial sector development in expanding access to finance by SMEs in Kenya. We find that while the financial system in general, and the Central Bank of Kenya in particular, have made headway in expanding financial inclusion in Kenya, small firms continue to face more constraints in access to finance compared to larger firms. The policy emphasis on financial inclusion, coupled with the widespread innovations in information and communications technology, such as M-Pesa and agency banking, are furthering the expansion of the access frontier in Kenya. The second essay assesses access to finance by SMEs in South Sudan, based on a survey conducted in three of the country’s ten states. Using a Probit model estimation, we find that not only does size of the firm matter, but also that distance from Juba is inversely related to access to finance by SMEs. The final essay draws lessons from the Kenyan experience, in light of the findings on access to finance in South Sudan, to formulate proposals for innovative financial services for SMEs and with regard to the regulatory framework for financial sector development in South Sudan. The aim throughout the dissertation is to explore how the financial sector can serve to advance the goal of inclusive economic development. Policy recommendations emphasize strengthening the regulatory framework, land rights administration, channeling oil resource revenues to fuel broad-based economic development, and pursuing financial inclusion as an objective in its own right and not just a byproduct of economic development.

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