Oral Financial Numeracy in Tanzania: An Exploratory Study

Based on prior informal studies, including one in Bangladesh (published in Oral Information Management Tools, 2014) this paper profiles numeracy skills in a sample of 40 economically active, illiterate adults in rural Tanzania.

Some skills, includng counting large numbers in cash, adding, subtracting, estimating proportions and accurately counting large numbers in cash, are unexpectedly strong. But the authors also find evidence that illiterate adults frequently face certain characteristic skill deficits that can be a decisive barrier to financial inclusion, including mobile. Of particular concern is inability to decode place value (read 4+ digit written numbers), understand the concept of percent, and use a modern calendar. Download here.