African Digital Inclusion Facility Approves $ 1.3 Million in Grants for Two Research Efforts to Improve Women’s Digital Access to Loans and Microinsurance
The African Development Bank has approved two research grants that will increase African women’s access to a range of digital financial services, including loans and microinsurance.
The grants, in the amount of $ 1 million and $ 300,000 respectively, will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a blended finance vehicle supported by the Bank, to two technology companies. Financial, Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd. and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd.
Pula advisers will use the $ 1 million for research into the social, cultural and economic factors that influence women farmers’ access to microinsurance in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. Research findings will inform the design and implementation of gender-responsive insurance products. The project will be undertaken over a period of 3 years.
“This grant will be used to leverage technology to develop innovative and responsive loan and insurance products that can boost productivity and inclusion, especially for our smallholder farmers and traders.” said Sheila Okiro, Bank Coordinator for ADFI.
The three-year project will consist of three phases: product development; piloting; and scaling; the results are expected to benefit 360,000 farmers, 50% of whom are women, and increase agricultural yields by up to 30%. It will also increase income and improve household and country food security.
M-KOPA will use the $ 300,000 grant for research involving 250 women and 250 men in Kisumu, Eldoret and Machakos counties in Kenya. The company will assess the barriers and opportunities for women to access digital financial services and financial education programs via a smartphone, and use the research findings to design a financial services application suitable for small-scale women traders.
The project, approved by the Bank on February 9, 2021, will benefit women with no or limited access to financial services who run small informal businesses. Once developed, the mobile application will be used to pilot small loans to women traders.
The two projects align with digital products and ADFI’s innovation and capacity building intervention pillars, as well as with its transversal orientation on gender inclusion, a theme that covers all of its interventions.
The approval of the PULA grant responds to the strategic objectives of the African Development Bank, including the ten-year strategy, two high priority areas 5 – feeding Africa and improving the quality of life of Africans – and the financial inclusion strategies of the African Development Bank. Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.
The M-KOPA project is aligned with the Bank’s Positive Action Financing for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program, which aims to increase women’s access to finance.
ADFI is a pan-African initiative designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion across Africa, with the aim of ensuring that an additional 332 million Africans, 60% of whom are women, have access to the formal economy. The facility was officially launched in June 2019 during the Bank’s annual meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. ADFI’s current partners are the French Development Agency (AFD); the French Treasury’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance; The Ministry of Finance of the Luxembourg government; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the African Development Bank, which also hosts the fund.
Olufemi Terry | Department of Communication and External Relations | African Development Bank | email: email@example.com