Women’s financial inclusion in Africa to benefit from a $7.1 million partnership between FSD Africa and Women’s World Banking
28 November 2013

In  April  2012,  Enhancing  Financial  Innovation  &  Access  (EFInA),  Women’s  World  Banking  and Diamond Bank announced that they were partnering to advance financial inclusion in Nigeria for underserved women and provide them with an opportunity to become economically empowered through  access  to  a  savings  account.  To  this  end,  EFInA  awarded  Diamond  Bank  a  Technical Assistance Grant of $250,000 to develop and pilot the BETA Savings product.

In November 2013, EFInA’s sister organisation Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) announced a new partnership with Women’s World Banking to bring 1.3 million people from Sub-Saharan Africa into the formal financial services sector for the first time. Over five years, FSD Africa, a programme of the UK’s Department for International Development will provide up to $7.1 million to Women’s World Banking to fund a collaboration that will generate powerful results not only for low-income clients, especially women, but also for the institutions that serve them and the markets in which they operate. Women’s World Banking will focus in Nigeria, Malawi, and Tanzania to create financial services specifically tailored to the unique needs of women, including innovative savings and credit products.

The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2012 survey revealed that 21.6 million men (47.4% of adult men), compared with 16.2 million women (38.3% of adult women), had access to formal financial services. While disproportionately underserved, women are the strongest potential clients for financial institutions with historically higher savings and loan repayment rates. By developing a program that is commercially viable and sustainable, the collaboration between FSD Africa and Women’s World Banking will illustrate the social and financial benefits of serving the women’s market.

Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development, said: “Working in partnership with Women’s World Banking and commercial banks will  allow us to provide over one million women across Africa with the financial services they need to thrive. Investing in women is hugely powerful. We know that when a woman generates her own income she reinvests 90 per cent of it in her family and community. Women are an engine of growth and no country can fully develop unless women are economically empowered as well as men.”

Mark Napier, Director of FSD Africa, said: “Access to formal financial services in Africa is persistently worse for women than it is for men. FSD Africa is committed to doing what it can to close this gap which  is why the  partnership  with  Women’s World  Banking,  with its  decades of  experience  in promoting innovation in financial services for women across the globe, is so exciting.”