The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), with funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), will hold a validation workshop on financial inclusion on Tuesday, 6 November in Lusaka, Zambia.
Through the workshop, key stakeholders interviewed during a multi-country study on promoting women’s and youth financial inclusion will have the opportunity to appraise and validate the findings of the study. The workshop will also allow the research team to hear the opinions and views of other stakeholders not interviewed during the research.
Sub-Saharan Africa has made significant progress in financial inclusion, however, there is continued marginalization of a large segment of the population – rural dwellers, the women and the youth. Research from the African Development Bank, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Women’s World Banking and the World Bank also consistently highlight the extent of women’s and youths’ exclusion and the efforts to empower them by closing exclusion gaps.
Zambia is one of the few countries showing promising results in financial inclusion as bank account penetration has more than doubled among adults living in the poorest 40 percent of Zambian households since 2011. Zambia has initiated a number of initiatives to improve access to finance for women and youth.
In a multi-country study titled ‘Promoting Women and Youth Financial Inclusion for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation’, ACET assesses the effectiveness of existing financial inclusion initiatives and their relative success or failure in achieving desired goals. The study tracks progress, compares approaches, gauges the impact of different approaches, and draws lessons for policymakers, regulators and service providers.
In any month, 73% of survey respondents access financial services through a mobile money agent, the preliminary findings reveal. Usage of agents was slightly higher among women, with about 81% using mobile money agents to access money.
Knowledge and awareness continue to play a key role in the uptake of financial services by women and the youth as regulatory authorities, service providers and civil society organizations work to enhance inclusion among the two groups.
The workshop will bring together experts and senior officials from key government ministries, department and agencies, a broad range of women’s and youth associations, financial institutions, civil society organizations and academia.