Financial Inclusion in Uganda has gained significant recognition through the recently launched National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2017-2022 whose major focus area is to improve financial inclusion.
If which implemented well, could be a significant step towards ensuring that more Ugandans can access a broader range of affordable, high-quality financial services.
Financial inclusion is a state in which all people who can use financial services have access to a full suite of quality services, provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, and with dignity for the client.
Broad and inclusive access to formal finance is essential for sustainable development in Uganda.
Enabling a greater percentage of the population to access formal services such as savings, credit and insurance products can bring significant benefits to individuals (through increased security for their funds and the ability to access bigger loans), to businesses supporting more inclusive growth asnd increased productivity through wider access to finance).
Mobile access to financial services is key to helping women prosper. Customer journey towards financial inclusion is largely led by mobile money services, with close to a third of the population using the services actively.
According to Financial Inclusion insights Survey of 2016 conducted in Uganda, it was revealed that women are less likely to own mobile phones and be active users of mobile money (38% of men use mobile versus 25% of women), but rather prefer resorting to informal services. This is mainly propagated by social cultural norms that see women in general face challenges in owning property and lack independence in decision-making.
In the wake of these realisations and the urgent need to improve the situation of women, FSDU has taken steps to facilitate key market actors to reduce the gender.
FSDU has attempted to realise the objectives set out in figure 9 of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017-2022 by addressing each objective as a hereunder.
Under the objective of reducing exclusion and assess to the barriers to financial services: FSD has through partnership with other representatives such as the financial service providers (FSPs), development partners, donors, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) facilitated provision of financial services to excluded segments of the population.
For instance FSDU through partnership with MTN supported the transaction of the Mobile Money Mednu into 7 languages in an effort to make it more accessible to people in peri-urban and rural areas.
Under the objectives of credit infrastructure Objective: FSDU Leverages human centered design and other best practices in product development to create, pilot and test services that meet the needs of the excluded. One major example is linkage banking that has seen over 800 savings groupd (VSLAs) comprising of over 70% women connect with financial institutions through mobile banking, offering safety and convenient access for their savings.
Under the Deepen and Broaden Saving, Investment and Insurance Usage Objective: FSDU has endeavoured to provide technical assistance and grant support to the market actors such as NUMIDA that have leveraged technology such as a mobile phone to deliver suitable micro insurance services in exchange for regular premium payment proportionate to the likelihood and cost of the risks involved.
Furthermore, FSDU has through its pillar on policy and regulation, supported a better business environment for women by initiating the movable collateral security bill that will see women, who don’t ordinarily own property or land, use alternative assets such as bicycles or sewing machines even, as security for credit.
“FSDU recognises the critical role women play in Uganda’s economy. Women’s exclusion from formal financial serviced poses a threat if not addressed. We remain committed to ensuring women and other vulnerable groups such as youth and refugees get access to cost effective and quality financial services so as to help reduce their vulnerability as well as increase their potential to play an even more active role in economic growth. This International Women’s Day, we urge everyone to play their role and press for progress for financial inclusion of women,” Jacqueline M. Musiitwa, ED FSD Uganda
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