Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi, has called on women to leverage opportunities that digitisation provides – as she says this is a sure way of bridging the gender equality-gap and increase their participation in economic activities.
Speaking on the theme ‘Women as Builders of Digital Economies in Ghana – A Call to Action to Close the Gender Gap on Access to and Usage of Digital Financial Services in Ghana’, to mark International Women’s Day, Mrs. Awadzi said a report by the World Economic Forum which indicates that in 2019 there were 3.8 billion people using mobile Internet – with three-quarters of all mobile Internet users living in low- and middle-income countries – opens a huge window of opportunity for women, especially in financial inclusion.
“The digital economy provides immense opportunities for women to advance themselves through online education and skills acquisition, telemedicine, increased trading in goods and services with more digital payment options, telework where it is available, digital savings, credit, insurance, investment and pension opportunities, all leveraging widely available technology.
“It is widely acknowledged that digital financial services have the potential to make a significant difference in bridging the gender gap in access to finance – which has remained at nine percent in the developing world since 2011 – by increasing women’s financial autonomy and improving their economic participation.
“Digital financial services can help bridge the gap in account ownership, increase women’s participation in the financial system, and give them opportunity to save formally or access credit. It can also help their business by lowering costs and giving access to a diversity of financial services,” he said.
She further added that efforts must be made to address the challenges and improve access to technological and digital tools to improve and increase their participation in digitisation.
Also speaking at the event, Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, also reiterated the need for women to take advantage of the digital world to bridge the gender gap.
“Digital and data can help accelerate the empowerment of women as builders of digital economies. By discussing how to unleash the potential of data and digital solutions to drive decision-making to the benefit of women economic empowerment is a key focus area the gender ministry will support.
“The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection will commit to supporting a coalition of the willing between the public and private sectors to increase women’s participation in the workforce and leadership to drive a digital economy ecosystem,” she said.
Country Lead Ghana, UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Enea Stocco, advocated the economic empowerment of women in closing the gender gap, as this will promote an inclusive economic growth and help achieve the 2030 Agenda for SDGs.
To help attain this goal, Mr. Stocco said, the UNCDF has made gender equality central to its work to unlock private and public finance, putting women at the centre of its new 2022-2025 strategic framework.
“In Ghana, under the framework of the GrEEn programme funded by the European Union, UNCDF is implementing tailored actions to improve the access and usage of financial services, with a particular focus on vulnerable women as one of the key targetted group of beneficiaries.
“In order to promote sustainability and efficiency with the proposed intervention, UNCDF is using a human-centred design approach to develop financial and digital services that start from women’s needs…UNCDF is offering a full range of digital financial services ranging from savings, loans as well as remittance services and financial literacy, finally contributing to bridge the gender gap,” he said.