FINCA Kosovo developed the Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness specifically to help women grow and scale businesses. Since launching more than a year ago, the business loans for women have made positive social and commercial impacts, making the case for why financial institutions should emphasize outreach to women clients.
In a recent interview with FinTekNews, FINCA Impact Finance President & CEO Andrée Simon discusses the unique challenges and opportunities facing women in the finance and fintech industries.
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.
FINCA Impact Finance’s 2019 International Women’s Day panel event will focus on financial inclusion, fintech and closing the gender gap. Speakers include Andrée Simon, Rosita Najmi, Dr. Sonja Kelly, Bhavana Srivastava and Elissa McCarter Laborde.
FINCA provides business loans for women entrepreneurs along with other gender-sensitive finance services to help close the gender gap in financial access. In 2018, the company opened a women-only bank branch in Afghanistan and launched a new loan for women entrepreneurs in Kosovo.
FINCA Impact Finance officially launched its first women-only bank branch in Afghanistan on April 7. The branch is staffed by an all-female team of financial professionals. Located in Kabul, it will exclusively serve female clientele.
FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited announced a strategic partnership with Karandaaz Pakistan to expand responsible finance by enhancing delivery of digital financial services. The partnership will target women entrepreneurs engaged in micro and small-business activities.
FINCA Impact Finance recognizes intentional action is needed to close the global gender gap. On International Women’s Day, FINCA Kosovo launched its new business loan for women.
Fintech innovation can help close the gender gap—but intentional, targeted action is necessary to ensure new technologies are used in the right ways—and for the right reasons.