Monday 13th April 2015
This month I was invited to speak at consultations at the United Nations to shape the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the process of gaining consensus from 193 member states remains deeply inscrutable to an outsider such as myself, it is encouraging to note how embedded full financial inclusion is to several of the 17 proposed SDGs and how directly tied it is to SDG 5: “To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
The correlation between access to financial services for women and gender equality is based on empirical evidence, and that evidence is part of the calculus of assessing the Return on Investment (ROI) of each of the 169 proposed targets that are attached to the 17 proposed goals.
The GBA welcomes that financial inclusion for women is at the forefront of the SDGs and seeks to push this further. We are not just about access, but about use, and not just about use, but about women using financial services effectively so that they grow their wealth. Hence our holistic value proposition that acknowledges that women also need access to better information, better education and networking opportunities.
This month GBA also participated in a commitment organized by the World Bank Group, which together with an impressive array of companies committed to bringing 1 billion additional people into the formal financial system by 2020.
In pondering the efficacy of setting goals and making public commitments to action, we should note that the first round of UN goals — the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — set in 2000 to be achieved this year, had some remarkable successes. The amount of people living in extreme poverty halved, and the percent of children attending primary school increased from 80 to 90, with big increases for girls in particular. Goals help us focus, and the process of setting them enables us to create a common language around what we want to achieve and how we want to achieve it. That process is important in educating us all about the nature of universal problems and the solutions.
This month we’re excited to give you a glimpse of some of what we’ll be discussing at this year’s GBA Summit in São Paolo, Brazil, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, as we push forward our market-tested solutions and bring more financial services providers into the fold.
This month we are also proud to welcome our eighth member bank from Latin America, Banco Económico. In this issue we interview Sergio Asbún, the bank’s CEO, and ask him why he is taking on the Women’s Market in Bolivia.
We each play our part; together we will get it done.
Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women