Women Entrepreneurs working in both formal and informal sectors need deliberate assistance by financial institutions in order to bridge the gender gap in accessing financial services.
The need for the growth of the financial sector and subsequently the economy has been responded to by KCB Bank Uganda partnering with Mkazipreneur, a Ugandan based community platform dedicated to fostering and advancing women entrepreneurship in Africa.
Unlike their male counterparts, the women entrepreneurs do not easily access financial services in some of the financial institutions since many of them have no collateral security that is usually a requirement.
Now through this partnership, Ugandan women will be able to access an all-encompassing package, including salary loans, unsecured business loans, overdrafts, mortgages, and personal and life insurance; services that have been predominantly utilized by men.
KCB working closely with Mkazipreneur is an instrumental move to provide female small business owners with affordable resources, skills training, workshops, platforms to showcase products, financial advice, and a supportive community to lean on.
Unveiling the partnership, Agnes Mayanja Namyalo, the Executive Director at KCB Bank said: “This partnership will introduce opportunities for women to access loans with fair interest rates, other products and services with minimal or no collateral and will open doors for them to explore various business opportunities.”
Mayanja emphasized the need for women to unite in achieving their dreams; “Through networking, training, and mentoring opportunities, we shall break barriers in male-dominated business sectors, providing our female clients with access to larger volumes of growth capital,” she said.
Diana Komukama, Head of Marketing and Communications at KCB Bank Uganda highlighted the importance of women’s equity, equality, and empowerment.
She stated: “We are committed to bettering the communities we live in, starting with the mothers of the nation. Through partnerships like these, we affirm our commitment to empowering all women in business by providing a suitable product portfolio, regardless of status, age, or occupation. Supporting mothers also means extending support to their children.”
Immy Nakyeyune, the Founder, Mkazipreneur welcomed the partnership and hailed KCB Uganda for their efforts in empowering women financially. By empowering women with the right financial skills and tools, we are empowering the whole nation.”
According to the Bank of Uganda National-Financial-Inclusion-Strategy 2022, 38% of men vs 25% of women, have an account at a financial institution, save or borrow money and understand financial services.
However, women do use informal financial services more than men in Uganda with 34% usage for women versus 27% for men, so levels of exclusion from any form of financial services is similar for men and women. It is important to note that formal usage of financial services and financial capability among women is lower than for men.
The Bank of Uganda report attributes the gender gap to cultural beliefs such as women not owning property, low female employment, stigmatization against women in the employment sector, lack of female backing from their spouses, lack of financial education and enlightenment, among other social, political, and economic factors.