Lenders have been urged to advance more credit to women entrepreneurs in efforts to seal the existing finance gap.
forum held in Kigali, Rwanda, which brought together stakeholders from
various multilateral development banks, financial institutions and the
private sector, was told that lenders need to overcome the perception
that women entrepreneurs are high-risk borrowers.
“Gender champions” at the Global Gender Summit, underscored the benefits of banking on women entrepreneurs.
know that women are a good bet since they pay back and run excellent
businesses, yet they are not getting financed. An important step is for
multilateral development banks to offer credit guarantees to commercial
banks as an incentive to intensify their lending to women
entrepreneurs,” said Dr Jennifer Blanke, African Development Bank Vice
President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
While acknowledging the progress that has been made in bridging the gender inequity gap in financing, experts however faulted the slow pace in the effort.
According to World Economic Forum data, if the current rate of
progress is maintained, it will take at least 200 years to close the
global pay gap between men and women.
Asian Development Bank’s Gender Lead, highlighted the increased
awareness on the need for women’s financial inclusion to achieve gender
“There’s more money coming in for gender equality. However, there are still major gaps globally,” said Mr Tanaka.
the summit, it was noted that women face unique challenges such as
difficulty in accessing collateral for financing, running smaller
business in comparison to their male entrepreneur counterparts as well
as blurred lines between women’s personal and professional finance
Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi (Women
Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative) Secretariat led six panelists in
examining how financial institutions and multilateral development banks
are employing innovation in a bid to expand women’s access to finance.
Apart from risk-sharing intervention ventures such as credit guarantees to lenders, panelists said increasing women’s financial literacy is pivotal to closing the gender gap.
Another major point of discussion at the forum was how to
harness financial technology, alternative credit information, and online
tools for financial services as a way to grow businesses owned by
Tesi Rusagara, the head of Kigali Innovation
City, suggested the adoption of digital spaces as a key tool in
addressing the financing gap. He noted that introduction of more
services for documentation and online financing tools would be a great
value addition for women.
John Wilson, chief operating
officer of Equity Bank, echoed Mr Rusagara’s sentiments on the
importance of technology but added that making lasting human connection
with the customers is a key ingredient in bridging the gap.
need to close the gender gap is not about corporate social
responsibility or charity. It’s about business development by developing
a proper set of financial and non-financial services,” said Barbara
Rambousek, Director for Gender and Economic Inclusion at the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
strides in other spheres of gender equality, there still exists a $42
billion financing disparity gap between men and women in Africa, the
To date in some developing regions of the
world, women still face challenges such as getting basic documents like
a birth certificate which are required by commercial bank for loan