GBA Supports AFI Efforts to Integrate a Gender Lens into Financial Inclusion Strategies

Thursday 28th April 2016

Photo courtesy of AFI
Photo courtesy of AFI

Chief Executive of the Global Banking Alliance for Women Inez Murray spoke on a panel earlier this week at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion high-level conference, Bridging the Gap: Commitments and Actions for Women’s Financial Inclusion. The event, held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, brought together financial regulators, development institutions and other stakeholders to discuss strategies to integrate women’s financial inclusion initiatives into national policy. The conference was co-hosted by the Bank of Tanzania on April 28 and was preceded by the 8th Meeting of the AFI Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG), held from April 26-27.

AFI has been targeting women’s financial inclusion as an important policy area over the last year, starting with the first high-level conference on women’s financial inclusion in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, in August 2015. Since then, the GBA has supported AFI’s efforts to increase awareness about women’s critical importance to banking the unbanked and the need for sex-disaggregated data to close the gender gaps in financial access.

The main objective of the conference was to identify and develop practical actions that the AFI network and other actors can take to accelerate the pace of women’s financial inclusion. Inez shared GBA research on the critical need for more and better sex-disaggregated data on women’s access to and use of financial services, without which policymakers cannot know where the gaps are or how to close them. The panel, “Sex-disaggregated Data: Indicators and Regulatory Strategies,” was moderated by AFI’s Charles Marwa and also included Amani Guntram Itatiro of the Bank of Tanzania, Diane Jocelyn Bizimana of the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, Caren Grown of the World Bank, and Ineke Bussemaker of the National Microfinance Bank PLC.

The event also examined opportunities for setting national evidence-based regulatory objectives on women’s financial inclusion, developing an enabling environment to support the growth of women-owned SMEs, facilitating peer learning across the AFI network on developing and implementing financial inclusion strategies for women, leveraging digital financial services to drive inclusion, and collaborating with the private sector to increase women’s access to financial services. The conference concluded with the endorsement of the AFI Action Plan on Advancing Financial Inclusion for Women. The Action Plan will be presented at the 2016 AFI Global Policy Forum in Fiji, where it will be adopted and implemented by AFI members who will make concrete commitments to support women’s financial inclusion.