Financial Inclusion Summit.
Championing accessible, appropriate, affordable, and timely financial products and services for unbanked women in Kenya.
Financial Inclusion is described as the method of offering banking and financial solutions and services to every individual in the society without any form of discrimination. It primarily aims to include everybody in the society by giving them basic financial services without looking at a person’s income or savings. Financial inclusion chiefly focuses on providing reliable financial solutions to the economically underprivileged sections of the society without having any unfair treatment. It intends to provide financial solutions without any signs of inequality. It is also committed to being transparent while offering financial assistance without any hidden transactions or costs.
Financial inclusion strengthens the availability of economic resources and builds the concept of savings among the poor. Financial inclusion is a major step towards inclusive growth. It helps in the overall economic development of the underprivileged population. In Africa, effective financial inclusion is needed for the uplift of the poor and disadvantaged people by providing them with the modified financial products and services.
The KENCTAD Financial Inclusion Summit is an annual event that brings together financial institutions that are actively working towards providing practical financing for unbanked women in Kenya.
One billion women – more than 40% of the women around the world – still don’t have access to financial services, despite women’s growing share of global consumer spending. Having a safe place to keep and save money, obtain credit, insurance, pension or other financial services can enable financially excluded one billion women from around the world to gain better control over their lives and improve the lives of those around them.
Source: World Bank.
It is important to acknowledge that broader social constraints related to intra-household bargaining power and the social status of women limit the broader impact of financial inclusion on women’s economic empowerment. While these are cross cutting constraints that are beyond the scope of financial inclusion programming, it is crucial to recognize them to ensure financial inclusion can have a transformational impact (Ngwemo et al. 2018).
Financial Inclusion Barriers.
Several barriers, faced by women that limit their access to and use more financial services, have been identified: lack of an ID to prove identity, insufficient traditionally required collateral, mobility constraints, little financial literacy, etc. These can be overcome; for example through: sex disaggregated data to develop customised value propositions tailored to women’s needs and gender-smart products, trained employees to provide expertise, design-friendly ecosystems, educating women in financial products, improve their networks, regulations that promote the use of tiered KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti money laundering), simplified accounts, the development of alternative collateral registries, and support the development of fintech companies that could create new mechanisms to serve women`s financial needs. Tackling these hurdles require the direct action of the financial sector, regulators and policy makers.
We invite stakeholders in the financial sector to be a part of this conversation because financial inclusion is important for women to access loans, credit and to make transactions, but it is also essential to save money and build assets in a safe place, which can in turn take them out of poverty. Savings interventions increase women’s business earnings. Women seek savings vehicles, and use personal savings to invest in their businesses.
Evidence on savings also shows impacts on women empowerment and positive household welfare impacts. Studies show that even poor women are eager to save if given appealing interest rates, a conveniently located facility, and flexible accounts. Other measures to improve female financial inclusion could involve supporting SMEs led by women with incentives in public procurement and value chains, creating movable collateral registries and building and sharing data on women business –guaranteeing data privacy- to allow the development of new credit scoring methods that could also benefit women.
2021 THEME: The Role Of Mobile Money & Digital Banks In Promoting Financial Inclusion For Unbanked Women.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile money drives financial inclusion. While the share of adults with a financial institution account remained flat, the share with a mobile money account almost doubled, to 21 percent. Since 2014, mobile money accounts have spread from East Africa to West Africa and beyond. The region is home to all eight economies where 20 percent or more of adults use only a mobile money account: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Opportunities abound to increase account ownership: up to 95 million unbanked adults in the region receive cash payments for agricultural products, and roughly 65 million save using semiformal methods. [ World Bank ]
In this edition, we focus on the role mobile money & digital banks is playing in ensuring financial inclusion for unbanked women.