Expanding Digital Financial Services in the East African Community with a Gender Lens

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Myamba, Flora
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African Economic Research Consortium
The uptake of mobile money is on the rise around the globe, in Sub-Saharan Africa, and notably in East African countries. The digitization of government to person (G2P) payments is rising, governments are using electronic payments to pay public sector salaries, pensions and other social benefits. Social protection beneficiaries tend to be poor, are often women, and carry a legacy of financial exclusion. It is thus difficult to achieve a significant expansion of digital financial inclusion in these countries without gender consideration. Despite the outstanding achievements in the digital world, women in East Africa face more significant challenges in gaining access to digital financial services than men. This paper discusses more general and specific barriers, including women's lack of technical know-how to make transactions, low levels of mobile phone ownership, unavailability of agents, high transaction fees, and poor network coverage. The paper further discusses potential strategies for expanding digital financial inclusion for women, including those in the agriculture sector.
Digital financial services, Eastern Africa, Gender lens, gender equality, women’s economic empowerment