Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Peter Uvin

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Financial inclusion is a critical means of empowering individuals to improve their own lives, and Uganda provides an excellent case study for examining various financial mechanisms in a developing country context. This thesis investigates four such mechanisms: formal banks, microfinance institutions, mobile money, and contribution clubs. The analysis is conducted using five criteria to evaluate their level of inclusion: (1) quantitative coverage, (2) standard of living, (3) gender, (4) education, and (5) social capital. The findings of this research suggest that the examined financial institutions can be seen as steppingstones, with each leading to the next, from contribution clubs to microfinance institutions to formal banks. Furthermore, each of these mechanisms offers unique benefits to individuals, even when they have the option to use different mechanisms. Lastly, mobile money is found to act as a neutral multiplier to these existing dynamics. Overall, this research underscores the importance of financial inclusion and highlights the potential benefits of various financial mechanisms for individuals and communities in Uganda.