India has one of the lowest rates of female labour force participation in the world - ranked 120 out of 131 countries by the International Labor Organization. More alarming still, this rate is in decline. Furthermore, the dearth of women in the labour market is a heavy drag on India's GDP, with India's economic growth rate now the lowest it's been in two years.
Technology can help along each of these dimensions. Thanks to mobile connectivity, reach is rapidly becoming a non-issue. But the real difficulty - and an area with significant potential for innovation and creative approaches - is in offering suitable products and services. Some of this is already happening.
Despite the fact that there are 10.5 million people in 70 countries in Savings Groups all over the world and a mountain of
It is an exciting and important time to be delivering this project. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, thanks to expansion in sectors such as telecommunications and a booming film industry. And yet, despite this, a significant gender gap in economic activity persists.
How to Help the Poor Access Finance and Find Sustainable Routes out of Poverty Without the Need for Banks...or Donors
I would like to thank Mr James Fierro, CEO of ECO Capacity Exchange for writing this article with me. Last Friday (25th September
World Savings Day: 2.5bn People Have No Access to Formal Financial Services - Are They Missing Much?
Financial enfranchisement and saving is the most effective way to reduce the number living in poverty. For those living on less than $2 a day, which is less than my daily coffee, there are now grass roots programmes in place to create a savings culture.
Financial inclusion has become a buzzword for governments intent on tackling poverty and inequality among their citizens. India's Prime Minister Modi just announced that he wants to end 'financial untouchability' with an ambitious target to provide most households with a bank account in a matter of months.
Research shows that if you empower a woman, you empower a family, a community, and indeed a nation. This is because women invest 90% of what they earn back into their families' health and education, making a lasting difference. Yet while there are so many smart and hard-working women out there, many of them struggle in particular with access to banks and loans. Today, more than 2.5 billion adults in the developing world are considered 'financially excluded'. This means that they do not have access to basic financial services, such as savings, bank accounts, or credit. The majority are women.
Women in most parts of the world struggle particularly to obtain a loan, access suitable savings products or even to simply open a bank account. Accessing capital is the challenge that continues to come up as a top priority across many of the programmes supporting women entrepreneurs.