Wednesday 2nd May 2018
April saw the publication of the 2018 Global Findex, which showed significant increases in financial access since 2014 but a surprisingly stubborn gender gap: 7 percentage points globally and 9 percentage points in emerging markets. Digital channels are driving much of the uptake, and there is a definite need both for making it easier for women to access digital platforms via tiered KYC requirements and for increasing the value addition of such access to grow engagement with the system.
All this and more was the topic of conversation at a W20 Workshop convened April 19 by GBA and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion in our roles as co-chairs of the Financial Inclusion sub-group of the W20, an advisory body to the G20. A group of 40 experts on financial inclusion convened to discuss and prioritize policies that can support more women to become fully financially included. The consensus results have been given to the W20 for consideration, and indeed we feel it will be useful for all of us to have as we advocate in various forums.
The fact that Findex, with much of its data sex-disaggregated, is so useful is testimony to the importance of data to driving full financial inclusion of women. On April 20th it was our pleasure to welcome Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands to keynote the launch of the Gender Data Strategy developed with our colleagues in the Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) partnership. The need for more and better sex-disaggregated supply- and demand-side data to encourage market entry was ably articulated by speakers from GBA member banks Banco BHD León and Royal Bank of Scotland as well as by government bodies such as the Bank of Zambia and multilateral agencies such as IFC, IDB, World Bank and IMF – all members of the WFID. The Gender Data Strategy prioritizes the key data sets needed to drive financial inclusion of women, and WFID partners agreed to a set of Principles on how we can further this goal that we hope others concur with.
This month Westpac hosted a Study Tour for members and some highly motivated banks considering GBA membership, where it showcased the synergies between delivering awesome value to women as consumers and as employees and being a global leader in sustainability. We all came away feeling as though we truly had seen a state-of-the-art institution, one that GBA is so proud to have as a founding member and a global model for others to emulate. For those that are at the point of wanting to launch a Women’s Market program or need to fully embed and scale an existing program, we invite you to apply to our fifth All-Stars Academy, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, June 25–29. Expert practitioners teaching at the event hail from Westpac, BLC Bank, BNP Paribas and Stanbic Zambia. French interpretation will be provided.
This month we also welcome our newest member, NMB Bank Tanzania, to the Alliance. In this issue we interview Ineke Bussemaker, Managing Director and CEO, and learn about how the bank’s impressive digital footprint enables it to reach the formerly unbanked and underbanked in this large and predominately rural country, as well as its support of women entrepreneurs – particularly in agri-business. We are delighted to welcome NMB to the fold.
My sincere thanks to Westpac for an awesome Study Tour, to our members for your constant engagement, and to our many collaborators for your time and guidance.