Financial inclusion for Africa’s women essential to fulfilling lives

On Friday last week, the 4th symposium on financial inclusion took place in the Rwandan capital Kigali, with a goal to enhance financial sector performance globally, particularly in developing countries. More than 300 participants attended the event, together with an influential panel of speakers which included Jennifer Riria, founder and CEO of Kenya Women Holdings, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, deputy governor at National Bank of Rwanda; and Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. On the agenda were discussions to tackle such questions as to why women disproportionately face financial access barriers that prevent them from participating in the economy and from improving their lives. The consensus seemed to point to the fact that strong commitment is needed among African governments to promote financial inclusion for women to help achieve gender equity and poverty reduction, and to remove existing barriers. Experts at the meeting argued that investing in women should be a shared priority across public and private sector stakeholders given the economic and civic implications of female participation in the formal financial ecosystem.