WHAT IS MOBILE MONEY?
Mobile money is the technology that allows people to receive, store, and spend money using a mobile phone. The mobile money wallet is a popular alternative to both cash and banks because it's easy to use, secure, and is anywhere there is a mobile phone signal.
MOBILE MONEY & THE SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA EXPERIENCE
Mobile financial service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa have managed to 'bank the unbanked.' The 'unbanked' are adults who do not use banks or financial institutions in any given capacity.
As smartphones' adoption has dramatically increased in 2018 in emerging markets, 866 million subscribers have registered for mobile money accounts globally, a 20% increase from 2017.
Mobile technology has transformed financial services, its reach dwarfing that of traditional financial institutions in low-income countries. In 2016, in East Africa alone, the highest mobile penetration rate was 55%.
LEVERAGING MOBILE MONEY TO EMPOWER WOMEN
The leveraging of mobile financial will unlock cycles of poverty often inherited for generations by many women and children in Africa, who often have little alternatives or no access to information and formal financial institutions.
Taking advantage of the success and reach of digital financial services in this way would also mean working towards the UN's global sustainable goal number 5: "To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".
DIGITAL FINANCIAL LITERACY TRAINING FOR WOMEN (DFLW)
Why digital financial literacy is game-changing for achieving financial inclusion for women
Globally, financial trends show that women:
Earn less than men
Save less than men
Invest less than men
Spend more than men
While women live longer than men, a lack of financial literacy means that they are more likely to live in poverty in their old age. Mobile money has made it easier for more women to enter into business. Gaining the appropriate financial literacy will complement their new economic gains, enabling women to build and invest in their economic empowerment.
Financial literacy is the ability to understand how to make sound financial choices so you can confidently manage and grow your money. If you are financially literate, you will likely allocate your funds towards different goals and make informed financial decisions.
With a lack of financial literacy knowledge, you are less likely to invest in the right places, if you even invest at all.
Femfinance focuses on the use of mobile technology to empower women entrepreneurs across three models:
Delivering customized mobile-based applications to address the challenges facing female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan African developing economies.
Increase the participation and capacity of women in the mobile and banking agent networks.
Through research, identifying barriers preventing women's full access to available digital financial services.
Support women in gaining financial independence, greater autonomy, and control over their families' lives.
Our research has shown that most women entrepreneurs became business owners, born out of a desire to survive, support their loved ones, and gain financial independence.
Designing better suited digital financial savings products will alter women's economic behaviour patterns and incentivise long-term financial security for women entrepreneurs.
Women entrepreneurs in SSA operate in low net worth markets due to financial barriers in entering alternative industries and markets. Natural disasters, inflation, and market volatility have a detrimental impact on financial security, savings, and livelihoods. Over 95% of women entrepreneurs in our study defined their mobile wallet as their 'mobile bank.' Less than 1% of these women use the connected digital bank account to save their money.
Women often feel 'left behind' due to a lack of financial knowledge, or literacy, to make sound informed choices on utilizing their money.
The simplicity in access to the mobile wallet hasn't always translated into financial inclusion. Women entrepreneurs crave the knowledge necessary to make better and more informed financial choices and fully utilize all the available financial products at their disposal.
Women have not benefitted equally from mobile financial services due to their exclusion from the design process.
Generating better quality data and including women in the policy design process will result in real financial inclusion.