By Tonny Akankwatsa
The East African Community (EAC) Director for Finance Juvenal Ndimurirwo has urged the media in Uganda to have programs that advocate for the removal of barriers to women’s financial inclusion in the financial sector.
Ndimurirwo who was addressing a meeting with Ugandan Media Houses in Kampala on the implementation of the 50 Million African Women Speak Project said discriminatory laws like those about inheritance where families favour men as the only heir over women cannot help to spur financial inclusion in the region.
“If we are to realize financial inclusion and financial literacy, discrimination embedded in laws and the existing societal constraints codified into laws must be removed,” emphasized Ndimurirwo at a meeting that was held at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala.
He pointed out limited financial capability and financial literacy, lack of assets for collateral, geographical distance from financial institutions, lack of formal identification, limited ownership of mobile phones and sim cards, lack of gender-disaggregated data, risk aversion of banks and financial institutions speaking a complicated language as some of the other challenges still impeding the women from fully attaining financial inclusion.
He told Media Houses in Uganda to have programs that encourage financial literacy. “Majority of women in business in the EAC region look at short term targets. They spend everything and remain with nothing. These programs should focus on teaching people how to value money, compound interest and debt management,” said Ndimurirwo.
Quoting American Billionaire Warren Buffett who once said: “Don’t save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving?” Ndimurirwo said women and all the business community should embrace the culture of saving.
He said when women are released from poverty, positive effects can be felt in the whole household through improved nutrition and better education for the children.
At the same meeting, the EAC talked about a portal www.womenconnect.org that will show buyers and sellers and help women create social media discourses and talk through forums to help boost their financial knowledge.