SOURCE: Moody's CorporationDESCRIPTION:
During the Women’s World Banking Summit in October 2017, Sylvia Chahonyo, General Manager for Moody’s Investors Service in South Africa, presented Moody’s research on mobile money and banks that provide microfinance banking for women who own businesses in East Africa. We asked Sylvia to share her broader perspective on financial inclusion for women in the region.
Q: Why is it important to cultivate financial inclusion for women in Africa?
SYLVIA: When a woman is empowered and making money, the proceeds often go toward creating a permanent dwelling for her family and paying for her children’s education. Yes, women build small businesses so they can be financially independent. Even more than this, supporting women entrepreneurs also serves to plow money back into the community and improve the quality of life and access to opportunities for local children.
Q: What challenges can hold back African women who own businesses?
SYLVIA: There is a propensity for banks to focus lending on men, given that, historically, most successful small and micro businesses on the continent were male-led. However, their success is not because the businesses are run by men. It is because male-led businesses have historically had more opportunities and access to finance than businesses led by women have had.
Q: How can we enable more female entrepreneurs in Africa to succeed?
SYLVIA: We must make sure that the people providing access to financial and other types of opportunities see women as viable customers who can run businesses, borrow money and meet their repayment obligations. We also need to empower women entrepreneurs through financial education and knowledge — so they can confidently seek the help of banks and other types of financiers.
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KEYWORDS: financial inclusion for women in Africa, women owned business, Moody's, CSR Report