Improved Welfare for Women and Youths in Gambia Through Access to Finance

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Manja, Laston P.
Badjie, Isatou A.
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Access to finance, and more broadly financial inclusion, is one of the key challenges faced by households in the Gambia, in the face of an underdeveloped financial sector. Financial services in the Gambia are both formal and informal. Yet access to both formal and informal finance is very low in The Gambia with only 31 percent of individuals being financially included; 19 percent of which have access to formal finance and 12 percent to informal finance. In addition, there is a challenge of marginalization in terms of access to the various forms of finance across various works of life. This divide is even more pronounced by gender and age as women and youths have been observed to make less resort to the formal sources than to the informal sources, which tend to attract high rates of interest. Particularly, only 15 percent of women accessed formal finance compared to 23 percent for men. Yet, women are more informally included than men. By age, youths are more financially excluded than seniors with only 14 percent formally included and 9 percent informally included. To reduce the low participation rate of women and youths in finance will encompass setting evidence based policies that promote easy access to finance in order to achieve the 2nd priority of 2018-2021 now extended to 2022 National Development Plan (NDP) of the country.