Nigeria and 14 other African countries are beneficiaries of $320,535 grant by the African Development Bank to increase the participation of women in digital financial services.
A statement by AfDB on Tuesday stated that the fund would be used to conduct a gender gap analysis of several West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) strategies including those for financial inclusion; gender disaggregation data analytics; digital payment services and infrastructure; and digital identity.
The bank said the project, to be executed over a three-year period, will potentially affect 350 million people in Nigeria and 14 other ECOWAS nations: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The beneficiary countries are expected to mainstream gender in their core digital financial services (DFS) regulatory frameworks.
It said the grant would be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a blended finance vehicle.
“With a secretariat comprising all the 15 ECOWAS central banks, WAMA plays a pivotal role in the consolidation and implementation of strategic financial inclusion objectives. ADFI and the WAMA project team will work closely with other ecosystem players in the region to ensure harmonisation of efforts for maximum impact,” the ADFI Coordinator, Sheila Okiro, said.
The project, according to AfDB, has the potential to raise by 35 per cent women’s participation in digital financial market operations in the region.
It noted that the West African region has a higher gender disparity than other parts of the continent as reflected in its Gender Development Index of 0.825 versus the African average of 0.871.
Africa has a gender-inclusion gap of 11 per cent as compared to the global average of nine percent according to the 2017 Findex Report.
To address this challenge, it is imperative that gender is mainstreamed across all functions but more so at the level of policy and regulation, the bank added.
The bank said the project aligned to ADFI’s strategic goals including its cross-cutting focus on gender inclusion, as well as the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, Gender Strategy (2021-2025) and to the Integrate Africa High-5 strategic focus.