•In Kenya, women constitute about 52 percent of the country’s population and about 30 percent of the registered businesses (so far) are female-owned.
•the increase in number of women involved in businesses has increased prompting the need for custom made financial services.
An increasing number of women are now shunning digital loans due to requirements to include third parties in the loan application process.
The provision of details such as spouses contacts or next of kin members have driven more women out of digital financial inclusion into informal sources such as Chama’s.
Digital financial transformation firm Qhala chief executive Shikoh Gitau says despite increased mobile penetration locally, women are 24 per cent less likely to use digital financial services because of the biases that are already built in the platforms.
She says that a survey conducted by the firm showed that about 50 Percent of women refused to take loans because of the requirement to include spouses in the process.
“Many women who are doing business or trying to unhinge themselves from an emergency will not put their husband names there because it’s not the partners’ business what they are doing,” said Gitau.
She adds that unlike M-Pesa which doesn’t require you to expose some of your personal details about your life, When the financial platform wants to disclose your financial behavior women tend to shun away from it.
Mastercard Director for Enterprise Partnerships and Strategic Growth, Imelda Ngunzu, says the increase in number of women involved in businesses has increased prompting the need for custom-made financial services.
She says Female-led fintech companies are helping women gain access to financial services, allowing them to take control of their financial decisions.
“We have pledged to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025,” Ngunzu told the Star on the sidelines of a conference on women and technology.
MasterCard says African women are a vital, yet underserved source of growth, prosperity, and innovation.
In Kenya, women constitute about 52 percent of the country’s population and about 30 percent of the registered businesses (so far) are female-owned yet their financial inclusion remains lean.
“We have set a goal of providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses through a range of initiatives including funding, mentoring and the development of inclusive technologies,” added Ngunzu.
However, the landscape is slowly changing with Women-led fintechs changing the game by leveraging digital platforms to curate content and tools to deconstruct systemic issues that have made access to financial services typically cumbersome.
Programs like Jaza Duka- a digital inclusive program launched in partnership with Unilever and KCB Bank - that enables MSMEs to access affordable credit enabling them to conduct their businesses with ease are proving to be game changers.
According to the African Tech Start-ups Funding report 2022, investment into the African tech start-up ecosystem passed the US$3 billion (Sh386billion) mark for the first time in 2022, with more start-ups raising money, from more investors.
Fintech held the leading space in Kenya in terms of number of funded ventures in in the review period.