How African operators are accelerating digital and financial inclusion for women

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By Adrine Muhura, GSMA

Is the African digital landscape inclusive for all? Whilst millions of African women are becoming connected through mobile technology and reaping the life-changing benefits that it can bring, many more are still left behind.

Compared to men, women in Sub-Saharan Africa are, for instance, 14% less likely to own a mobile phone, 34% less likely to use mobile internet and 20% less likely to use mobile money, according to Findex data and our Mobile Gender Gap Report 2018.

Mobile operators across the continent are working hard to address this, realizing that reaching more women can not only bring socio-economic benefits to women and their families but is also commercially attractive; women are half of the potential market.

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To date, 19 operators across Africa have together made 26 formal commitments through the GSMA Connected Women’s Commitment initiative to increase the proportion of women in their mobile internet and/or mobile money customer base by 2020.

They are reaching women customers through microloans and savings products, helping women’s agricultural groups see the benefits of mobile money for payments, developing healthcare apps and solutions, recruiting female agents and merchants, mobile financial products for traditional women’s savings groups, handset credit schemes and other innovative initiatives.


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