Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day 2018!

Through our #PressforProgress campaign, we are proud to share information about our partnerships that are supporting women’s economic empowerment in a variety of ways.

Financial Inclusion Policy Advancement

The Fletcher School Leadership Programme for Financial Inclusion is an intensive and innovative executive education initiative for promising financial regulators and policymakers from emerging and frontier markets, including in sub-Saharan Africa. Through support from FSD Africa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the MasterCard Foundation, the programme has trained financial regulators and policy makers, including 40% women, with many going on to develop and implement policies that address financial inclusion in their respective countries, including for women.

Savings Groups and Women’s Financial Inclusion

John Ferguson Oxfam

The SEEP Network is a collaborative learning network that supports strategies for vulnerable populations, especially women, to participate in markets and improve their quality of life. FSD Africa has partnered with SEEP to build and apply knowledge and evidence on savings groups in order to improve the ability of these groups to reduce vulnerability and enhance access to economic opportunities amongst their members, especially women and the rural poor.  Research shows that savings groups contribute towards women’s economic empowerment by expanding access to basic financial services and support networks. They serve as a means for women in marginalised environments to smooth out uneven cash flows and become more resilient to shocks.

Inclusive Financial Products and Services for Women

Women’s World Banking (WWB) is a global non-profit dedicated to giving low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they need to build security and prosperity. FSD Africa’s partnership with WWB is helping to build the business case for investing in women as clients and leaders.   This is being achieved through the creation of business alliances with financial institutions, involving the development of new financial services, in terms of both product and distribution, for women and young people.  Specifically, the partnership has seen the development of financial services and products for these target groups by Diamond Bank in Nigeria and NMB Bank in Tanzania.

Digital Financial Services

The Digital Frontiers Institute is a one-of-a-kind institution that is building human capacity in digital financial services by equipping a new generation of fintech professionals with the information, skills and vision they need to deliver and guide society towards inclusive digital financial solutions. DFI recognises the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles in digital financial services and fintech as well as the general lack of financial inclusion for women across the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Through support from FSD Africa and other partners, DFI is addressing these issues by equipping women with the necessary qualifications and training to develop digital financial services and products that sustainably include them and that, in turn, allow women actively participate in the economy.

Building Women’s Skills and Capacity

The Strathmore Business School (SBS) is a renowned institution in East Africa that aims at developing transformative business leaders to tackle the various social and economic challenges facing Africa. With support from FSD Africa, SBS has developed and expanded its Leadership Academy in East Africa including creating a ‘Women in Leadership’ programme. The programme is targeted at women in management and equips women with skills to perform effectively and efficiently to achieve excellence in the various spheres of their lives.

Additionally, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) through FSD Africa’s support, is providing skills development and training in order to strengthen professional standards among Capital Markets Professionals – women included. CISI is a professional body that offers a wide range of qualifications in the financial sector including Operations, Wealth Management, Compliance/Risk, Capital Markets/Corporate Finance, Financial Planning and Islamic Finance.

Remittances as a Source of Income for Women

Cenfri supports financial inclusion and financial-sector development through facilitating better regulation and market provision of financial services through research, advisory services and capacity-building programmes. FSD Africa and Cenfri have partnered on the Risk, Remittances and Integrity (RRI) programme which seeks to strengthen the integrity and risk management role of the financial sector and to facilitate remittance flows within and into the continent.

With respect to remittances, research conducted by Cenfri indicates that remittances are an important source of income for women in sub-Saharan Africa. They are used to meet monthly expenses, deal with unexpected shocks, and support family obligations (e.g. paying school fees).

Championing Women’s Economic Empowerment

The Africa Advisory Council (AAC) is an initiative that was convened by Women’s World Banking and FSD Africa. The Council provides strategic insights on Women’s World Banking’s financial inclusion work in Africa and serves as a key influencer in demonstrating the opportunity of reaching low-income women with financial services in the region. The Council is composed of 12 high-profile African leaders from government ministries, financial institutions, technology companies, and consumer goods providers.Since its inception in 2014, the Council members have raised the profile of women’s economic empowerment issues among key audiences.

They have emphasized the importance of women’s full participation in the formal economy to leaders of the G7 Summit; collaborated with Women’s World Banking on research that is being used to inform national financial inclusion policies globally with a particular focus on women; informed the commitments adopted by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Denarau Action Plan and engaged in a detailed dialogue on the challenges & opportunities at the intersection of financial services innovation and regulation for attendees of the World Economic Forum on Africa Summit. In its current term 2017/2018, the council’s focus is to champion the importance of women’s leadership and women’s entrepreneurship in advancing Africa’s economic growth.

Elizabeth Kiamba, is the Assistant Manager, Inclusive Finance at FSD Africa.

For questions/comments, she can be reached on She tweets at @muneekiamba.