Policy Brief: Advancing African Women’s Financial Inclusion
Women’s financial inclusion yields significant development impact such as more inclusive and sustainable growth through higher levels of productive investment and asset accumulation. At the household level, women are the primary financial managers in most families, ensuring intra-household resource allocation to meet ongoing basic needs and additionally saving to invest in and protect their families’ future.
However, on the African continent, characterized by a low level of financial inclusion overall, the lack of access to financial services for women is acute when compared to that of men.
What can policy makers, namely Government entities, central banks and other regulatory authorities, do to promote women’s financial inclusion? This Policy Brief lays out a set of recommendations designed to tackle this issue. In many cases, they are not gender-specific, but focus rather on measures that can remove various impediments that hinder women’s access to finance and to opening doors where women are more likely to benefit from greater opportunities.
Alongside these financial sector specific recommendations, not to be neglected are broader policy and legal reforms, as well as cultural changes that will improve women’s access to, and use of, financial services.
The preparatory work for this brief was carried out under the auspices of Making Finance Work for Africa, New Faces New Voices, the East Africa Community and GIZ on behalf of BMZ. The brief was built upon consultations with African stakeholders and development partners initiated during the Round Table held in Arusha, Tanzania, on April 16-17, 2012. This process provided the opportunity to identify women’s financial needs, explore constraints and frame the set of policy recommendations.
We encourage stakeholders interested in pursuing the development objective of increasing African women’s financial inclusion to explore and leverage potential policy options discussed in this brief. Gender issues deserve greater attention in the African policy sphere and have the potential to fast track economic development on the continent.