The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has awarded a grant of $320,535 to the West African Monetary Agency in a bid to address the challenge of gender inclusion in the core digital financial services regulatory frameworks of the Economic Community of West African States.
The AfDB said in a statement that the funds would support a gender gap analysis of several WAMA strategies, including those for financial inclusion, gender disaggregation data analytics, digital payment services and infrastructure, and digital identity.
“To address this challenge, it is imperative that gender is mainstreamed across all functions but more so at the level of policy and regulation,” it said.
The bank noted that the project, to be executed over a three year period, would potentially affect 350 million people in all 15 ECOWAS nations.
It said, “It has the potential to raise 35 per cent women’s participation in digital financial market operations in the region.
“The region has a higher gender disparity than other parts of the continent as reflected in its Gender Development Index of 0.825 versus the African average of 0.871.”
According to the 2017 Findex Report, Africa has a gender-inclusion gap of 11 per cent as compared to the global average of nine per cent.
The Coordinator, Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, Sheila Okiro, said, “With a secretariat comprising all the 15 ECOWAS central banks, WAMA plays a pivotal role in the consolidation and implementation of strategic financial inclusion objectives.
“ADFI and the WAMA project team will work closely with other ecosystem players in the region to ensure harmonisation of efforts for maximum impact.”