AfDB approves $ 1.3 million grants for women’s access to digital finance – WorldStage

The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved two $ 1.3 million research grants aimed at increasing African women’s access to a range of digital financial services, including loans and microinsurance.

According to an AfDB press release on Monday, grants of $ 1 million and $ 300,000 respectively will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).

ADFI is a pan-African initiative designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion across Africa.

This is a mixed AfDB financing facility with two FinTech companies; Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd. and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd.

Pula Advisors will use the million dollars to research the social, cultural and economic factors that impact the access of women farmers to microinsurance in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

In addition, M-KOPA would use the $ 300,000 grant for research involving 250 women and 250 men in Kisumu, Eldoret and Machakos counties in Kenya.

The company would assess the barriers and opportunities for women to access digital financial services and financial education programs.

These would be done via a smartphone and use the information from the research to design a relevant financial services app for small traders.

Sheila Okiro, Bank Coordinator for ADFI, said, “This grant funding will be used to leverage technology to develop innovative and responsive loan and insurance products that can boost productivity and inclusion, especially for our small farmers and traders.

The AfDB also noted that the research results would inform the design and implementation of gender-focused insurance products and that the project would run for three years.

The project will consist of three phases: product development; piloting; and scaling.

The results are expected to benefit 360,000 farmers, 50 percent of whom are women, and increase crop yields by up to 30 percent.

It would also increase income and improve household and country food security.

The project was approved by the bank on February 9, 2020 and would benefit women with no or limited access to financial services who run small informal businesses.

According to the press release, once developed, the mobile application will be used to pilot small loans to traders.

The two projects align with digital products and the pillars of ADFI’s innovation and capacity building intervention, as well as its transversal orientation on gender inclusion.

The approval of the PULA grant responds to the AfDB’s strategic objectives to feed Africa and improve the quality of life of Africans, as well as the financial inclusion strategies of Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

In addition, the M-KOPA project aligns with the bank’s Positive Financial Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program which aims to increase women’s access to finance.

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