The Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) is implementing a three-year project targeted at creating a framework that can be adopted by governments and multi-sectoral stakeholders to ensure financial inclusion in the country.
Known as the “Women's Leadership for Financial Inclusion and Economic Recovery Initiative (WLF1), the project is aimed at facilitating a greater representation of women in the COVID-19 economic recovery response task forces, increasing political support and improving the institutional capacity of women's networks on financial inclusion
Project inception forum
The project was introduced during an inception forum organised by NETRIGHT, in partnership with the Graça Machel Trust (GMT), in Accra.
The Programmes Manager of NETRIGHT, Patricia Blankson Akakpo, said the project was also expected to build a strong ecosystem of voices and actors from local, national, regional to global levels to drive evidence-based advocacy for COVID-19 economic recovery that focused on women, using digital financial inclusion as a key lever for change.
She indicated that the rationale for the project followed Africa's Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), which prioritised gender equality and building inclusive economies.
“For the continent to realise these goals, women need to be among the decision-makers and collective action from local to national, regional and global level is pivotal.
“The economic recovery lies in harnessing the contributions and potential of women's full participation in the economy,” she noted.
She said the forum provided a platform for them to introduce the project to key stakeholders and also to solicit for their insights into recent developments on Ghana's COVID-19 economic recovery agenda.
“The forum is also to introduce the projects to relevant stakeholders for their buy-in and discuss gender gaps in Ghana's financial inclusion and economic recovery agenda, solicit views to enhance project implementation,” Ms Akakpo said.
Specific financial system
The forum brought together policy makers from relevant ministries and agencies, women entrepreneurs, trade associations, fintech sector, financial institutions, trade unions, academia, civil society organisations and the media.
Participants in the forum suggested that a specific financial system must be developed to meet the needs of women in the informal sector to achieve financial inclusion.
They noted that the government, as well as financial institutions, must be deliberate in creating a system specifically to serve them to achieve a financial inclusive economy, since women faced a lot of difficulties when accessing financial services.
The Deputy Director of the Bank of Ghana, Clarissa Kudowor, speaking on behalf of the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi, said the government, working with key stakeholders in 2018, issued a five-year National Financial Inclusion Development Strategy.
“The strategy aims at ensuring that a broad range of affordable and quality financial service are available and also meet the needs of all Ghanaians,” she said.
She indicated that financial inclusion had become the key pillar in achieving a digital economy and, therefore, there was the need for women to participate fully in the opportunities provided by the growing digital economy.