The World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with the Central Banks of Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania is launching a project focused on East African financial inclusion. This effort to expand access and usage of financial services was made known at the World Economic Forum on Africa, which took place in Durban South Africa from 3rd to 5th of May 2017. The initiative will focus on youth empowerment, the gender gap in Africa, and financing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through responsible data capture and credit analytics

“The goal of the project is to bring together a coalition of local and international organizations to catalyse investment and collective action towards building an inclusive financial system that promotes sustainable economic growth in the region,” said Matthew Blake, Head of Financial and Monetary System Initiative and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.

This effort aims to develop collaboration between policy-makers, private-sector providers of financial services and their clients, and other relevant actors. East Africa has already made significant strides towards financial inclusion, leveraging digital and other means to raise the number of adults that have an account to 34 percent in 2014, up from 24 percent in 2011. The region leads the world in mobile money accounts, standing at 12 percent penetration.

The three priorities of the initiative are:

  1. Expand MSME financing by fostering responsible data capture and non-traditional credit analytics.
  2. Reduce the gender gap by supporting the creation of innovative financial products and services that fully meet the unique needs of women.
  3. Engage youth in financial inclusion through encouraging entrepreneurship; this includes offering greater opportunities to access the resources (including working capital) needed to initiate and sustain a small business.

More than 1,000 participants are taking part in the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa. The theme of the meeting is “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership.”


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