New report unveils pathway to accelerate women’s digital financial inclusion in Central Africa
UNCDF and Flutterwave join forces to ensure women’s voices are included during the policymaking process on digital financial services. In June 2021, our CEMAC advisory panel shared 23 proposals for accelerating women’s financial inclusion with regulators and public decision-makers in the region. Read the full report here.
Read the report: 23 proposals from the UNCDF Advisory Panel on Women and Digital Financial Services in the CEMAC region.
A new report, published by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, in collaboration with Flutterwave, proposes 23 measures to reduce the gender digital divide in financial services in Central Africa, where almost two-thirds of women are still excluded from the formal financial sector.
The report aims to ensure the policy and regulatory environment accelerates women’s access to digital financial services, strengthens financial and digital education and improves consumer protection. It pushes forward new ideas and highlights the urgent needs that women in the region have, which have increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By providing millions of women across Central Africa with access to financial accounts, digital financial services have the potential to improve their financial lives and economic participation. Ensuring their impact is inclusive requires innovation not only in technology and product development, but also in policies. This report represents a significant step that has been taken toward bringing the experiences of those impacted by policies into the halls of decision-making.
“Women’s voices as community leaders, technical experts, and consumers are essential to designing and implementing policies that have a direct impact on their financial lives. This is particularly the case for consumer protection regulations, where privacy, transparency, and fairness are addressed directly. Women need to be in the room when important decisions are made. That’s how today’s reforms will pay off in the long term.”
— Ahmed Dermish, UNCDF Policy Accelerator Lead Specialist
Despite recent efforts to promote women’s financial inclusion across the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), women still face major legal, social, and cultural barriers which prevent them from using formal financial systems. In addition, their voices are often absent from the process of developing related public policies and regulations.
For the very first time, a participatory initiative underscores the major role civil society organizations have in informing financial inclusion policies, working alongside governments and regulatory authorities across the six countries of CEMAC.
The 23 policy recommendations emanate from the Advisory Panel on Women & Digital Financial Services in Central Africa, which was convened by UNCDF from March 2021 to March 2022 and gathered civil society representatives from across the six CEMAC countries (Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea).
UNCDF and Flutterwave are collaborating with the Panel to turn these recommendations into policy, regulatory, and market solutions.
“Flutterwave is proud to collaborate with UNCDF on such an important initiative designed to facilitate financial inclusion and have a long-term impact on the local communities. Ensuring that all Africans are financially included in the new digital world is our key focus and this cannot happen if we do not first bridge the current gender gap.”
— Bode Abifarin, Chief Operating Officer at Flutterwave
About the UNCDF Advisory Panel on Women & Digital Financial Services in the CEMAC region
In March 2021, UNCDF, through its Policy Accelerator, created an advisory panel on “Women and Digital Financial Services” to facilitate regular dialogue between regulators, policymakers, and civil society representatives from each of the six CEMAC countries (Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea). Since its inception, the panel has presented its recommendations to regional and national regulators and several participants have been invited to contribute to the regional financial inclusion strategy.