The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two research grants totalling $1.3 million to increase African women’s access to loans and micro-insurance.
The $1 million and $300,000 grants will be disbursed through Africa Digital Financial Inclusion (ADFI) facility to two financial technology outfits, Pula Advisors Kenya Limited, and M-KOPA Kenya Limited.
Pula Advisors will deploy the $1 million to research social, cultural, and economic factors that hinder women farmers’ access to micro-insurance in Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.
The findings from the research will guide the creation and implementation of gender-centric insurance products while the project will be carried out over a three-year period.
In a statement issued recently, the Bank’s Coordinator for ADFI, Sheila Okiro, revealed that the facilities would be used to leverage technology, establish innovative and responsive loan, and insurance products that would increase productivity and inclusion especially for women small-scale farmers and traders in Africa.
According to her, the project would be in three phases – product development, piloting and scaling, while the results are expected to help about 360,000 farmers in boosting farm yields by around 30 percent, increase incomes, and upgrade household and national food security.
M-KOPA will deploy the $300,000 grant to researches that involve about 250 women and 250 men in Kisumu, Eldoret, and Machakos counties in Kenya.
M-KOPA will assess the obstacles to opportunities for women’s access to digital financial services and financial literacy programmes through smartphone, and use insights from the research to create a financial services app that is relevant to small-scale women traders.
The project was approved by the Bank on February 9, 2020 and will benefit women with zero or limited access to financial services that drive small informal businesses.