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Expert meeting on embracing digital finance for women’s economic empowerment in Africa

21 July, 2021 to 22 July, 2021
Online

Time: 2:30 pm - 5 pm East African Time

 

The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa will host a two-day virtual expert group meeting on 21 and 22 July to discuss the challenges and opportunities in embracing digital finance for women’s economic empowerment and to launch its flagship 2020 African Women’s Report on digital finance ecosystems.

The latest edition of the report focuses on ‘Digital Finance Ecosystems as Pathways to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa’. Across the world, digital finance is recognized as a force that can transform the livelihoods of many who are excluded from traditional finance and banking, especially women. While digital finance opportunities are largely led by the private sector in Africa, it is increasingly important to understand both the social and economic impacts on women and girls, and the propagators that can help maximise returns from the development of digital eco-systems.

Available research indicates significant gaps in the knowledge and understanding of what constitutes digital finance, and the determinants required for it to thrive and ensure women benefit equally from digital financial services. Access and availability of digital finance tools also differ significantly across Africa. 

The meeting aims to highlight the challenges and opportunities in embracing digital finance for women in Africa and address how to support the creation of a multi-agency coalition that can promote women’s economic empowerment through tailored tools and services.

Building on this, the report, which takes a holistic view of digital finance from a systems perspective, examines major components of digital finance and how they relate to women’s equality and empowerment. It provides key recommendations, that countries can adopt, to ensure that opportunities stemming from digital finance can further stimulate sector-specific requirements to improve financial inclusion – ultimately boosting women’s economic empowerment across Africa.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for a diverse group of experts to discuss the findings of the report, share regional good practices on financial inclusion and consider key next steps for the development of Africa’s digital financial eco-system.