6 Financial Inclusion Policy Recommendations from W20

Monday 13th August 2018

w20 ArgentinaIn an engagement group meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in July, W20 delegates, financial inclusion experts and thought leaders gathered to identify key recommendations to present to the G20 in an official Communiqué.

The meeting was supported by the W20 under the Argentinian presidency, the Saudi Arabian secretary of the G20 and the British Bank of Saudi Arabia. The discussion focused on the importance of: access to finance for women’s businesses, financial products for women, digital finance as a means of increasing access for unbanked women and sex-disaggregated data that helps close the gender gap.

Each of these four topics was framed up by an expert in the field. Sabrin Rahman, Head of Corporate Sustainability for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at HSBC Bank discussed access to funding for women-owned and women-led enterprises, both at the start-up and expansion stages, sharing such interventions as investment in business incubators, accelerators, reduced interest rates and increased terms of payment for women-led enterprises. CEO of Lazard Gulf Ltd. Farah Foustok shared why the industry must offer financial products and services that have a gender perspective and take into account women’s context and constraints. Alfred Hannig, Executive Director at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, explored the use of digital services to enable the financial inclusion of women – especially those in the informal market. He looked at how these interventions can help women access credit, international remittances and government payments. Finally, GBA’s Chief Executive Inez Murray examined the need for the collection, analysis, use and sharing of sex-disaggregated financial services data to create and expand evidence-based policies for the financial inclusion of women, especially in areas with little or outdated data.

The group decided on six primary recommendations to address the discussion areas, which were published in an official Communiqué that will be presented to the G20 during the W20 Summit in Argentina in October.

  1. Introduce anti-discrimination laws on access to credit and regulatory reforms that enable access to and use of digital financial services. Reform legal barriers impacting women’s access to and control over marital property and inheritance.
  2. Collect, analyze and track supply and demand data disaggregated by sex and age to measure access to and usage of financial products and services. Enable cross-referencing of the data with other socio-economic characteristics and comparability between datasets and among countries wherever possible.
  3. Promote initiatives that facilitate women’s financial literacy and capability. Increase the number of women holding decision-making roles in the financial ecosystem while enhancing gender sensitivity. Digitize government payments to help women better engage with digital financial services and develop credit histories.
  4. Collaborate in an international effort to identify and agree upon common definitions of women-owned and women-led businesses, with the potential for developing certification standards around certain agreed-upon definitions.
  5. Provide financial infrastructure solutions that de-risk financing women-owned/-led business and help move those businesses from the informal to the formal sector.
  6. Establish a policy framework and ecosystem that accelerates women’s enterprise development. Support the creation of national businesswomen’s associations and alliances, and facilitate access to markets, information and resources to enable business growth.

The W20 is the official G20 engagement group dedicated to promoting gender inclusiveness and gender equality as an integral part of the G20 process. In a broad dialogue using digital tools, expert meetings and roundtables as well as the W20 Summit, the W20 joins the global experiences of women representing the civil society, private sector, entrepreneurs and academia/think tanks from all G20 countries to develop and formulate strong policy recommendations that will foster women’s economic empowerment.