Photo credit: African farmers using a mobile application in Kiambu, Kenya/iStock

BMZ champions women’s financial inclusion


By Natascha Beinker, Deputy Head of the Division “Cooperation with the private sector/sustainable economic policy” at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


In conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019, AFI is publishing a series of blog posts including contributions from our donors and private sector partners. Join us in embracing innovative ways to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

Only if all genders can open savings accounts, access loans, take out insurance and make payments, they can be equally empowered to fully tap their economic potential, stabilize their living and income, increase their economic activities and reduce their vulnerability to crises. However, in spite of progress in recent years, access to basic financial services is still severely restricted for women. In rural areas, the situation is even more severe.

According to recent data, more than one billion women worldwide currently have no access to a simple savings account with a bank. With Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community has reaffirmed its will and set binding targets to reduce economic exclusion and discrimination against women through suitable measures.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is actively promoting improved access to a broad range of financial services for women in general and for female entrepreneurs in particular. In the context of forced displacement, equal access to opportunities for women is key. In our work on financial inclusion of forcibly displaced persons, we aim at understanding the needs of women in refugee situations in order to identify appropriate measures and improve their access to finance.

German Development Cooperation takes into account gender aspects at various levels in our programs on financial systems development, such as supporting the development of financial inclusion strategies, the implementation of financial literacy strategies or financial consumer protection. We believe that digital solutions hold great promise for women’s financial inclusion. However, these digital solutions and new actors also come with challenges and risks. These need to be taken into account, if we are to fully reap the benefits of financial inclusion for both women and men.

BMZ has been an early champion and string supporter of AFI’s workstream on women’s financial inclusion in Africa and globally.