Browse by Theme: Financial Inclusion

Thursday 22nd September at the United Nations General Assembly was a tremendous moment for the global women’s economic empowerment agenda. Not only did Ban Ki Moon become the first Secretary General to declare himself a feminist (for which he received a rousing standing ovation), it was also the launch of the first report by the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

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Unless women have more empowerment, autonomy, and access to resources, we are not going to achieve change. Those are the words of Luis Guillermo Solís, President of Costa Rica and women’s economic empowerment advocate, speaking at an event on financial inclusion co-hosted by CARE and Women’s World Banking at the UN (21 September 2016). Our event was followed by the release of the report of the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment – so what actually needs to happen for a radical step change in accelerating women’s economic empowerment?

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The current UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment is highlighting the major attention being paid by governments, the development community and others to the importance of women’s economic empowerment to tackling poverty and ensuring women achieve the target of gender equality which the world has agreed to as Sustainable Development Goal 5.

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Are financial institutions in emerging economies adapting their business models fast enough to tap into the market of the currently unbanked? And if not, why not?

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has just held its Annual Meeting in London, and I was lucky enough to participate in a panel discussion on their recently published Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality 2016-2020. A key focus of the discussion was how EBRD can best work with civil society organisations towards achievement of the strategy. There are many points to welcome in the strategy – but also many challenges to be faced...

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Opportunities exist in Tanzania to scale up access to financial services for unbanked groups. The National Forum on Linking Informal Savings Groups to Formal Finance, held last month, revealed the depth in which organisations are supporting this market segment to develop.

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In Tanzania a group has gathered to purchase shares, grow their savings, access loans and do their book-keeping. Regular financial sector activities, but with a difference. These are the activities of the Tushikamane Paris group – an informal savings group of 24 women and 6 men from the hinterland of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Many from this community live on the poverty line, although some manage to make a little extra cash through selling surplus vegetables, crafts or making and selling snacks, amongst other small-scale enterprises. Despite having very limited funds, members of the Tushikamane Paris group manage to grow their savings every week, without fail.

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