#AFIStories: Nigeria & Tanzania bridges the financial inclusion gender gap in Africa

Policymakers and central bankers have a leading role to play in creating a more enabling environment to expand women’s financial inclusion.

How can they eliminate the persistent gender gap and expand access to financial services for both women and men? By integrating policies into national financial inclusion strategies and other policy initiatives. Take a look at two case studies below that highlight challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in bridging the financial inclusion gender gap.

Women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria: Barriers and opportunities

Although Nigeria has higher levels of financial inclusion than other lower-middle income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, this is based predominantly on urban male bank account holders.

According to the 2014 Global Findex, Nigeria has made progress in increasing the percentage of women who have access to an account in a financial institution. However, the gender gap has increased significantly in the last three years, from 7.3% to 20.7%.2 With banks perceived as less accessible to women, the expansion of mobile financial services is seen as a particularly valuable opportunity to foster financial inclusion for women. Curious to learn more? Read the case study.

Lessons from Tanzania: Effective policies and next steps

With more than 25% of the population living below the poverty line, Tanzania still compares favorably to other Sub-Saharan countries in terms of access to financial services.

Tanzania has made progress in closing the financial inclusion gender gap in part due to knowledge and experience gained during AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue. The country’s National Financial Inclusion Framework is better able to articulate women’s financial inclusion as a policy goal.

The regulatory framework for mobile money has been key to the success of the policy framework in Tanzania, and financial infrastructure has also fostered financial inclusion for women. However, the main challenge remains in expanding financial services to low-income women in rural areas — as in other countries. Discover more about Tanzania’s experience with digital financial services in bridging the gender gap.