Despite increased financial access overall, the gender gap hasn’t changed much since 2014. And while fintech has potential to empower women, fintech and financial inclusion for women don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. In a recent op-ed, Caren Robb discusses ways that financial institutions can promote gender-equitable financial inclusion and close the gender gap.
“Afghanistan is home to more than 17 million women”, pointed out Zar Wardak, FIF’s regional director for the Middle East & South Asia and chair of its Diversity & Inclusion Management Team. “Shutting women out of the financial system is both an injustice and a huge missed opportunity. The women-only branch is helping unlock that potential by providing responsible finance.”
Discussion of how fintech and financial inclusion can close the gender gap took center stage at FINCA Impact Finance’s 2019 International Women’s Day event, Can the Future Still Be Female? A Discussion on Fintech and Gender Balance. Panelists included Rosita Najmi of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Sonja Kelly of the US State Department, Bhavana Srivastava of MicroSave Consulting and Elissa McCarter Laborde of the Vitas Group.
An external financial crisis required FINCA Azerbaijan to transform its business model. Now a scaled-down, more efficient operation, it will expand financial inclusion through a combination of branches and digital banking channels.
FINCA Armenia joins FIF subsidiaries in Ecuador, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua and Pakistan in receiving Certification from the Smart Campaign, a global initiative promoting prudent, transparent and respectful treatment of clients. It is the first institution in Armenia to be certified.
Simon highlights FIF’s recent initiative by which FINCA Guatemala is partnering with Uber Guatemala to offer a cutting-edge loan product to local Uber drivers. FINCA Guatemala’s loan application form is directly integrated into the Uber online dashboard. This allows drivers to apply for a loan using only their driving history, and allows FINCA Guatemala to process loan applications in just hours.
The USD 2.8 million bond issuance will support on-lending to small businesses. It is the third successful bond issuance by FINCA Armenia since 2017.
GBP 800,000 in funding will support upgrading FINCA Zambia’s agent banking network, reaching underserved population segments through financial technology innovation. The project will expand the agent network while evolving its business model to better meet the needs of customers.
FINCA Uganda establishes a new fintech innovation partnership with SafeBoda to expand financial inclusion in Uganda. Motorcycle taxi riders will be offered access to mobile savings and credit products.
FINCA Impact Finance has entered into a USD 20 million loan facility with the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF) and Microfinance Enhancement Facility S.A., SICAV-SIF (MEF). The facility will help FIF better manage liquidity throughout its global network of 20 microfinance banks and institutions.
FINCA Impact Finance opened its doors in Kosovo in 2000 to advance the mission of expanding financial inclusion to help individuals, families and communities recover from the war. This year FINCA Impact Finance won the Silver Telly Award for Rebuilding Kosovo: One Loan at a Time, a video highlighting the role of financial inclusion in the country’s recovery.