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Driving women’s financial inclusion through mobile money


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

As financial services continue to go digital and smartphones get into the hands and pockets of more users around the world, mobile money continues to gain traction.

Mobile money holds great potential to accelerate financial inclusion for women by increasing their financial independence and empowering them to lift their families and communities out of poverty. The 2017 Global Findex indicates that while there is a persistent gender gap in financial account ownership, mobile has a key role to play in helping to reduce this gap.

A Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) partner of AFI, GSMA actively supports the adoption of the Denarau Action Plan to increase women’s access to quality and affordable financial services globally. The Denarau Action Plan targets to accelerate the progress of women's financial inclusion by halving the financial inclusion gender gap across AFI member jurisdictions by 2021.

The mobile industry is committed to drive women’s financial inclusion through mobile money. Through the GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative, 24 operators have made commitments to reduce the gender gap in their mobile money customer base by 2020. To achieve their targets, mobile operators have invested to recruit more female agents, design new financial products for traditional women’s savings groups or launch digital literacy programmes for women. These and other efforts have already helped reach over 16 million new women with mobile services.

GSMA is actively working to support mobile operators’ efforts. In April 2018, we launched the GSMA Mobile Money Certification to enhance the safety, transparency and resilience of mobile money services. The certification is important to effectively protect vulnerable customers and we know that safety is a critical aspect for women when considering whether to use mobile money.

In addition, the barriers that prevent women from accessing and using mobile phones will need to be addressed to accelerate women’s financial inclusion.

“We are seeing significantly increased mobile access for women, however in an increasingly connected world, women are still being left behind,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “While mobile connectivity is spreading quickly, it is not spreading equally. Unequal access to mobile technology threatens to exacerbate the inequalities women already experience.”

In partnership with AFI, GSMA remains ready to support global efforts in bridging the financial inclusion gender gap. Learn more about the AFI Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) platform.