Okonjo-Iweala: Women and phones to drive growth in Africa

Okonjo-Iweala: Bank on poor women and phones to drive growth in Africa

Mobile phone technology can help to bring financial services to the 80 percent of African women who do not have a bank account and bolster the growth of the world’s poorest continent, Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Monday.

Okonjo-Iweala was one of a dozen government, finance and business leaders who met in Nairobi on Monday to roll out a plan to bring financial services to more poor African women.

“It’s not just about empowering women, it’s about economic growth,” said Okonjo-Iweala, honorary co-chair of the newly-formed Africa Advisory Council of the U.S.-based charity Women’s World Banking.

“Unless we can make access to finance easier for women in their businesses, we will be missing out on a significant portion of growth within our economies.”

She cited a study by accounting firm Ernst & Young which shows that 75 percent of consumer spending power will be in the hands of women by 2028.

Women are also known to be better than men at repaying loans and saving money, the experts said.In Nigeria, 73 percent of women have never used a financial product, according to Women’s World Banking. Instead, they rely on in traditional savings groups, where a collector comes to collect their daily earnings.Women’s […]

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