By: Esselina Macome (FSDMoç Executive Director) and Kátia Agositnho (FSDMoç Market Analyst)
This week, more than 300 participants from around the world will gather in Dar Es Salam for the Making finance work for women finance summit (MFWW) organized by Women World Banking, FSDAfrica and The Financial Sector Deepening Trust Tanzania. The key question is what can those and other stakeholders do to facilitate women’s access to finance, and more important, how can they do it?
Some of us will be fortunate to also participate in other two different events prior and after the MFWW;
CGAP’s Women’s Financial Inclusion Community of Practice will host a special session to explore the role of social norms in women’s financial exclusion and implications for market actors supporting the sector. This will be an opportunity to learn about the solutions that are being tested to address constraints such as lack of trust, self-confidence and limited decision making power, using both social networks and other innovative design features;
Pos-event, FSDAfrica and FSDTanzania will host the FSD network on women financial inclusion group to facilitate knowledge sharing and build stronger collaboration to advance our gender-focused work in the different countries were FSDs are represented.
Since the beginning of its implementation, FSDMoç have developed a special focus on women alongside with the youth segment. We have invested in the development of the Gender strategy (2015) to inform us on the existing possibilities to design interventions targeting women.
Different studies and analysis done and commissioned by FSDMoç have identified a number of constrains to secure the take-off of financial services by women, some of them includes socio-cultural and economic factors, for example, (1) low levels of literacy result in relatively less awareness among women about financial services, (2) Within the agriculture value chain, women are most involved in the production process rather than transactions despite the high percentage of women working in agriculture, this reduces demand for traditional savings and loans products among women and (3) limited mobility has an important impact on willingness to travel outside the village or neighborhood to access financial services. The same studies conclude that Risk aversion (and in rural areas “fear”) is a profound impediment to engagement in economic activities and/or expanding professional or business opportunities. In terms of numbers, only 55% of women are financial included against 74% of men, in a situation where women constitute 52% of the adult population in Mozambique, against 48% of men.
But the issues also can be found on the supply side, many financial service providers (FSPs), especially banks are not prepared to serve this segment. They know that they can be better clients but luck the understanding of this particularities and skills to overcome it. For example, evidence from the same studies cited above shows that, the institutions marketing campaigns are rarely targeted at women in terms of messaging and channels and even the products are rarely designed to meet women specific needs. A recent analysis being done by FSDMoç in partnership with Women world banking around mobile money, shows that because of the many roles that women play in the society, for example, taking care of the family as and sometimes play the role of the head of the family, women are net receivers of money (looking to transfers channels) and present a very active transactional behavior in small amounts.
The International Growth Center, recently, shared the results of the research study conducted around mobile money, microenterprises and savings (https://www.theigc.org/event/workshop-financial-inclusion-mozambique-interoperability-literacy/). The findings of this study are similar to FSDMoc women studies, (1) women face more challenge to use formal financial services and have low level of financial literacy, (2) once women are exposed to financial literacy initiatives, they are fast learners and can significantly improve the level of usage of mobile money services compared to men. This study also shows that the access to mobile money services and literacy allow female micro enterprises to perform equally and increase the usage of these services in the same manner as male microenterprises.
For FSDMoç, this turns out to be an interesting timing, as in the following week, the African Influence Exchange will be organizing the Mozambique Women Leadership Summit 2017 under the theme Transformational Resilience. FSDMoc, represented by Kátia Agostinho, will be part of the panel entitled Female Entrepreneurship: the next emerging market, to discuss ideas around the business case to invest in women entrepreneurs and fundraising. The summit intends to bring together women in leadership positions, entrepreneurs and others to explore and uncover some of the constrains highlighted above to support women generally in unlocking their potential, responding positively to adversity and pushing forward their leadership skills.
We have greater expectations that these events will inform our interventions and guide us to focus on pressing matters to improve women and their family’s livelihoods in Mozambique. Our participation demonstrates that as FSDMoç, we are committed and willing to continue to support all key stakeholders in order to consider women as a key target group with the area of financial inclusion and to develop innovative digital financial services and products oriented to their needs.
 Women’s World Banking is a US-based nonprofit microfinance network with about 49 member institutions (MFIs) working in 32 countries. It provides these MFIs with technical and advisory services, with a focus on serving low-income women.