Women bemoan lack of suitable financial products
Kampala November 29-Financial institutions should introduce tailored products that address the needs of women and lure them to the banked population if they want to close the gender gap in the banking sector.
The World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database in 2014 states that women account for 55 percent of the world’s unbanked adults but women entrepreneurs who attended a UN women dialogue with financial institutions and key stakeholders believe that the solution to reducing this percentage to smaller margins lies in improving women’s financial literacy, developing gender sensitive products for women businesses and linking the women to financial institutions that offer affordable finance.
“Full financial inclusion of women can provide a more diversified and stable retail base because women are good savers. If they have access to financial services, women tend to invest more in their businesses and other productive financial activities. Having a greater sense of empowerment and control over their finances enables women to invest in themselves, their families and their communities,” Theopista Ntale Sekitto, Africa’s Ambassador for New Faces New Voices said.
She added that hindrances such as failure to provide satisfactory answers to women who come in to inquire about the different products the banks offer keeps women especially the rural women away from financial institutions and they opt for other sources of credit such as money lenders whose convenience is offset by exorbitant interest rates.
Safia Nalule Juuko the MP for people with disabilities MP says for long lack of access to finances has played a big role in keeping women behind yet equity is necessary for any investment to take place.
“Financial Institutions that would have bailed the women out have failed because the requirements for collateral required for one to access a loan has also turned out to be another burden since most women do not own tangible items,” Nalule said.
The Women Entrepreneurs want financial institutions to come up with tailored products that address the needs of women and have clear laid out terms on what interest rates the women have to pay back and in what period, broaden the collateral base to allow more women access funds cheaply because a more banked population also means a bigger client base for the banks.