Financial Inclusivity and Gender Equality

Financial inclusivity ensures equal access to financial services for all, particularly marginalized groups historically neglected by the conventional financial system. Financial inclusivity ensures universal access to financial tools, irrespective of socio-economic status, geography, gender, age, or other characteristics.

Key components of financial inclusivity include:

Access to Banking Services:

Financial inclusion entails providing individuals access to fundamental banking services like savings and checking accounts, along with affordable remittance services.

Credit Access:

Ensuring credit access for individuals and small businesses, even those with limited credit history, facilitates investments in education and entrepreneurship..

Affordable and Inclusive Financial Products:

Developing financial products and services tailored to the needs of underserved populations, including microfinance loans, mobile banking, and insurance products.

Financial Education and Literacy:

Financial education programs empower individuals with knowledge and skills for informed financial decision-making and effective management of finances.

Regulatory Environment:

Fostering a regulatory environment promotes innovation, competition, consumer protection, and addresses the needs of underserved populations in finance.

Towards Gender equality

Gender equality is the absorption of both males and females in vacant positions at a workplace at a percentage rate that is stipulated by a country’s constitution.  Empowering youth and vulnerable genders ensures they are equal citizens, reducing marginalization and enhancing confidence and inclusion within society.  Empowered individuals foster national development by generating employment, alleviating poverty, and fostering innovation through entrepreneurial ventures and initiatives..

Financial Inclusion seminar
Financial inclusivity workshop

    

Challenges in financial inclusivity

Traditionally, a gender-biased land tenure coupled with weak legal systems prevailing in the rural patriarchal set-up do not support individual marketable property rights, hence weak collateral and contract enforcement mechanisms that further limit access to finances. Consequently, financial products such as long-term financing hardly reach rural areas and mainly get out of reach for women and youth.

Another hindrance to financial inclusion is low levels of financial literacy prevalent in rural communities, which prevents households and businesses from building effective risk management strategies and, more particularly, how credit works and why interests on top of capital need to be repaid regularly without a default. Additionally, low population density and a lack of infrastructure (communications, electricity, and transport) make financial services provision expensive in rural areas.

Types of financial inclusivity

Under these prevailing financial market conditions in formal financial markets, informal or semi-formal micro-financial institutions – as well as alternative providers like traders or input suppliers or delivery channels like mobile phone companies – have become major players in financial services provision. However, these informal providers often have a weak institutional and managerial capacity and offer only a narrow range of financial services, often without regulation.

Various self-help groups have evolved to cater to small business people who require credit to meet their financial needs but cannot access credit from formal financial institutions due to prohibitive lending conditionality. The most common across the world is table banking, which is based on the original principle of 2006 Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, which was catalyzed in Bangladesh.

Ensuring financial inclusivity

                  

Table banking is a group-based funding strategy in which members save and borrow immediately. Initial capital comes from the members’ subscription fees with further incomes from penalty fines, interest on loans, and other micro funds.

Solutions for financial inclusivity

The Rachiebo Foundation, through Rachiebo CBO and the Bakhulo self-help group, has initiated income-generating activities to promote financial inclusion, especially among its women and youth members.  In particular, they have developed a revolving fund that encourages savings and investment culture among the members.

The foundation in collaboration with Budoola Training Institute, will further provide an entrepreneurship development program on starting and running successful enterprises for members. Further, the foundation will provide market linkages for farm produce through contractual farming and act as an aggregator and agent for farm produce to enhance food security through diversified crops and improve the living standards of the community members.

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