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The Africa Digital Inclusion Facility awards $ 1.3 million in grants to two research projects to improve women’s digital access to credit and microinsurance
Published on March 8, 2021
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast: The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) has awarded two research grants that will improve African women’s access to a range of digital financial services, including credit and microinsurance.
The $ 1 million and $ 300,000 grants, respectively, will be made to two financial technology companies, Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd., through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a bank-sponsored blended finance vehicle. and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd.
Pula Advisors will use the US $ 1 million to research social, cultural and economic factors influencing women farmers’ access to microinsurance in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. Research results will be incorporated into the design and implementation of gender-centered insurance products. The project will be carried out over a period of 3 years.
“This grant funding will be used to use technology to develop innovative and responsive credit and insurance products that can drive productivity and inclusion, especially for our smallholders and traders,” said Sheila Okiro, the bank’s coordinator for ADFI.
The three-year project consists of three phases: product development; Piloting; and scaling; The results are expected to benefit 360,000 farmers, 50% of whom are women, and increase agricultural yields by up to 30%. This will also increase incomes and improve household and national food security.
M-KOPA will use the US $ 300,000 grant to conduct research with 250 women and 250 men in Kisumu, Eldoret and Machakos counties, Kenya. The company will assess the barriers and opportunities for women to access digital financial services and financial education programs through their smartphones, and use the research to develop a financial services app relevant to small women traders.
The project, approved by the bank on February 9, 2021, benefits women who have no or limited access to financial services run by small informal businesses. After the development, the mobile app will be used to test small loans to the traders.
Both projects are based on the intervention pillars for digital products and innovation and capacity building of ADFI as well as on its overarching focus on gender-specific inclusion, a topic that runs through all of its interventions.
The approval of the PULA grant fulfills the strategic goals of the African Development Bank, including the ten-year strategy, two priority areas of the 5thFeed Africa and improve the quality of lifeto theAfrican– and the financial inclusion strategies of Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.
The M-KOPA project is aligned with the bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program, which aims to improve access to finance for women.
ADFI is a pan-African initiative to accelerate digital financial inclusion across Africa, aiming to ensure 332 million more Africans, 60% of whom are women, have access to the formal economy. The facility was officially launched in June 2019 at the Bank’s annual meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Current ADFI partners are the French Development Agency (AFD); the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the French Ministry of Finance; The government of the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the African Development Bank, which also hosts the fund.