The African Development Bank‘s Board of Directors has given the West African Monetary Agency a $320, 535 grant to mainstream gender in ECOWAS’ core digital financial services (DFS) regulatory frameworks.
The funds will be used to perform a gender disparity study of a range of WAMA initiatives, including financial inclusion, gender disaggregation data analytics, digital payment services and technology, and digital identity.
The three-year project will have an effect on 350 million people in all 15 ECOWAS countries.
The countries include:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Sierra Leone.
The grant will be distributed via the Bank’s Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, which is a blended finance vehicle.
“With a secretariat that comprises all 15 ECOWAS central banks, WAMA plays a vital role in consolidating and enforcing strategic financial inclusion targets.
“ADFI and the WAMA project team will cooperate closely with other ecosystem players in the region to ensure that efforts are synchronized for full impact,” said ADFI Coordinator Sheila Okiro.
The project has the potential to increase women’s participation in digital financial market operations in the region by 35 percent.
Considering the fact that the region has a higher gender gap than the rest of the continent, as demonstrated by its Gender Development Index of 0.825 against the African average of 0.871.
According to the 2017 Findex Survey, Africa has an 11 percent gender gap, compared to a global average of 9 percent.
However, to address this problem, gender must be mainstreamed across all functions, but particularly at the policy and regulatory levels.
The project is in line with the ADFI’s strategic priorities.
Which include a cross-cutting emphasis on gender equality.
As well as the Bank’s Ten-Year Plan, Gender Strategy (2021-2025), and the Integrate Africa High-5 strategic focus.
The Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility is a pan-African instrument aimed at accelerating digital financial inclusion across the continent.
With the objective of providing access to the formal financial system to an additional 332 million Africans (60 percent of whom are women).
The African Development Bank is also the fund’s host.