AfDB celebrates International Women’s Day with a focus on financial inclusion
The African Development Bank (AfDB) will celebrate the 2014 edition of the International Women’s Day (IWD) from Monday, March 3 to Friday, March 7 in Tunis, with a focus on financial inclusion. This year’s theme is “Equality for women is progress for all” and the AfDB will hold a series of activities, with the goal of stimulating debate and building knowledge of Bank staff on gender and financial inclusion, as well as identifying entry points for advancing women’s roles in financial markets in Africa.
The celebration will culminate in a main event, held on Friday, March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8. The event will feature two panel discussions on various topics, including:
- The cost of exclusion, inclusive growth and gender equality: Unpacking the relationship,
- Challenges and opportunities in advancing women’s financial literacy and capabilities: Lessons from New Faces New Voices,
- Venture capital: What are the opportunities for African female entrepreneurs?
- From Paris to Accra to Busan: Where is the money for gender equality?
- Financial Markets: Does gender equality matter?
It is widely recognized that equitable access to education and financial services can play a pivotal role in poverty alleviation and in decreasing the vulnerability of poor people. In many African countries, however, more than two-thirds of the adult population have no access to formal financial services. In Sub-Saharan Africa, financial exclusion is as high as 76 per cent. Furthermore, exclusion is highest among women, youth and the very poorest segments of society. The AfDB strongly believes that financial inclusion can advance equality for women in a number of ways:
- Firstly, having access to their own resources and to the tools that enable them to earn a living can increase women’s bargaining power within households and their influence over how money and other resources are used.
- Secondly, financial inclusion can help increase women’s opportunities to earn or control assets outside the household.
- Thirdly, it can reduce women’s vulnerability by allowing them to insure against risk or borrow to meet unexpected expenses, such as medical treatments.
These are all key factors for economic empowerment. Furthermore, financial literacy allows individuals and families to understand how the accumulation of assets can aid in achieving their financial goals. A positive spillover from that process is greater economic stability in communities.
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