The Africa Digital Inclusion Facility has approved two research projects totaling $1.3 million to improve women’s digital access to loans and micro insurance.
The African Development Bank has funded two research grants to help African women gain access to a variety of digital financial services, such as loans and microinsurance.
The $1 million and $300,000 grants will be distributed to two financial technology companies.
Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd. and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd., respectively, through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a blended finance vehicle funded by the Bank.
Pula Advisors will use the $1 million to conduct research in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia on the social, cultural, and economic factors that influence women farmers’ access to microinsurance.
The results of the study will help to shape the design and implementation of gender-specific insurance policies.
The project will be completed over a three-year period.
“This grant money will be used to use technology to develop creative and sensitive loan and insurance products that can boost productivity and inclusion, especially for our women smallholder farmers and traders,” Sheila Okiro, the Bank’s ADFI Coordinator, said.
Product growth, piloting, and scaling are the three phases of the three-year project.
Which is expected to support 360,000 farmers.
Half of whom are women, and increase farm yields by up to 30%.
This would increase household and national food security while also increasing incomes.
The $300,000 grant will be used by M-KOPA to conduct research with 250 women and 250 men in Kenya’s Kisumu, Eldoret, and Machakos counties.
The company will evaluate the obstacles to and opportunities for women’s access to digital financial services and financial literacy programs via smartphone.
And then use the findings to create a financial services app tailored to small-scale women traders.
The Bank approved the project, which will help women who run small informal businesses and have little or restricted access to financial services.
The mobile app will be used to test small loans to women traders once it is completed.
Both initiatives are in line with ADFI’s digital goods.
Creativity, and capacity-building intervention pillars, as well as the organization’s cross-cutting gender equality emphasis.
The PULA grant approval is in line with the African Development Bank’s strategic priorities,.
Which include the Ten-Year Strategy.
As well as two High-5 focus areas—feeding Africa and improving the quality of life for Africans – Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia’s financial inclusion strategies.
M-KOPA is part of the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative.
The M-KOPA initiative aims to improve women’s access to finance.
ADFI is a pan-African initiative aimed at increasing digital financial inclusion across the continent.
With the goal of ensuring that 332 million more Africans, 60% of whom are women, gain access to the formal economy.
The Facility was formally opened in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, during the Bank’s Annual Meetings in 2019.
The French Development Agency (AFD), the French Treasury’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Luxembourg Government’s Ministry of Finance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the African Development Bank, which also hosts the fund, are all current ADFI partners.