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Companies and investors play a critical role in ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are felt by all segments of society. In this section we touch upon some of the solutions they offer to reduce economic inequality. These range from leadership programs and digital solutions to innovative financing solutions that enable banks to reach the most vulnerable groups in society.

Dynamic Women

In Africa women are integral to the continent’s growth as members of the workforce, however they don’t often get the credit or the income they deserve for their contributions. Furthermore, few leadership positions are made available to women across Africa, but, that does not mean there are no dynamic and assertive African women, who have successfully climbed the career ladder.

Twenty-four of these women from all over Africa, who are in senior leadership positions in banking – came together in Cape Town at the end of last year for the Women’s Executive Leadership Workshop, hosted by Arise, a leading African investment company. The three-day workshop centred around the future of finance and the leadership response required to meet the evolving global landscape. Delegates gained deeper insight into their personal leadership styles and left equipped with practical tools to enable them to advance their leadership roles in their respective banks.

Joan Ntabadde, head of customer experience at the Ugandan dfcu Bank, described her experience of the workshop as follows: “Unleash the power you have to influence change in your life and in others." We take our hat off to that! Arise aims to host similar events in future, promoting gender equality and advancement within its partner bank network. Through this approach, Arise seeks to play an active and pivotal role in contributing to the success of the respective banks and by extension contribute to the sustainability of Arise’s partner banks.

“Unleash the power you have to influence change in your life and in others.”

More info: Ariseinvest.com Female executive leadership workshop

Coming up: the key to unlocking the growth potential of female entrepreneurs

FMO and IFC have partnered with ConsumerCentriX in a study on the role of non-financial services for women-owned and women-led SMEs (WSMEs). Non-financial services (NFS) are business development services offered by banks to complement their core financial offerings, which can include information, education/training, advice/mentoring, networking, marketing and digital tools. WSMEs are an underserved group by financial institutions worldwide. Although there is increasing attention on how female entrepreneurs can be better served financially, little is known about the potential that NFS may have in growing the market potential of WSMEs. Therefore, ConsumerCentriX has performed a global survey of 34 financial institutions, conducting interviews and performing in-depth financial analyses of the institutions’ models for serving WMSEs. The upcoming interactive report will show the business case for NFS to WSMEs and offer insights into how financial institutions can design NFS specifically to serve the needs of WSMEs, thus allowing the businesses , as well as the financial institutions’ portfolios, to grow and unlock this market potential.

More info: ConsumerCentriX

Mobile wallets for Egypt’s unbanked

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing business online, the Egyptian digital payment provider Paymob saw their rate of monthly merchant on-boarding increase by a staggering 450 percent. Processing more than 85 percent of the mobile wallet transactions in the Egyptian market, PayMob is now the number one mobile wallet payments gateway in the MENA region.

Founders Islam Shawky and Alain El Hajj started their company in 2014 to enhance financial inclusion. In 2019 it was serving more than 11 million registered users and around 80 percent of their customers had never seen the inside of a bank. Through an investment led by Dubai-based Global Ventures, together with FMO and a follow-on investment by A15, Paymob raised USD 3.5 million to grow its merchant network and accelerate its regional expansion. The fintech company will use this funding to empower the massively underserved SMEs with improved and more accessible digital payments offerings. Beyond the Egyptian borders, Paymob plans to accelerate its regional expansion by extending its products to more markets in Africa. “Empowering our merchants and partner networks in Egypt and Africa, has and will be always, at the heart and core of what we do at Paymob,” says Alain El-Hajj.

More info: paymobsolutions

“Empowering our merchants and partners networks in Egypt and Africa has and will be always at the heart and core of what we do at Paymob.”

Financing Syrian refugees entrepreneurs

Mulhem Nadeen Al-Sakmani fled with his family from Syria in 2011, arriving in Jordan with just the clothes they were wearing. Since then he has moved from one job to the other, but has finally been able to buy the coffee place he was working at.

The Nasira program helps financial institutions to serve refugees. Small businesses need loans to expand but banks consider them too risky. The program is sharing the risks, so banks like Tamweelcom can now provide a loan to Mulhem to expand his business and build a better future for his family. Watch his story by clicking on the clip >

More info: tamweelcom.org

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