East AfricaM-Kopa and Pula Advisors receive Kes.142 Million Grant From AfDB

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two grants for research that will increase African women’s access to a range of digital financial services.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two grants for research that will increase African women’s access to a range of digital financial services including loans and micro-insurance.

The grants, for $1 million and $300,000 respectively, will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a blended finance vehicle supported by the Bank, to two financial technology firms: Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd, and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd.

In a statement issued by AfDB, they said Pula Advisors will use the $1 million for research of social, cultural and economic factors that impact women farmers’ access to microinsurance in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. Research findings will inform the design and implementation of gender-centric insurance products.

The project is expected to take 3 years.in three phases: product development; piloting; and scaling. The outcomes are expected to benefit 360,000 farmers, 50% of them women, as well as boost farm yields by up to 30%. The project is also expected to raise incomes and enhances household and national food security.

Consequently, M-KOPA will use the $300,000 grant funding for research involving 250 women and 250 men in Kenya’s Kisumu, Eldoret and Machakos counties.

The company will assess the barriers to and opportunities for women’s access to digital financial services and financial literacy programmes via smartphone and use the research insights to design a financial services app that is relevant to small-scale women traders.

The project, approved by AfDB on 9 February 2021, will benefit women with no or limited access to financial services that run small informal businesses. Once developed, the mobile app will be used to pilot small loans to women traders.

Both projects align with ADFI’s digital products and innovation and capacity building intervention pillars as well as its cross-cutting focus on gender inclusion, a thematic running across all its interventions.

The PULA grant approval meets African Development Bank strategic goals, including the Ten-Year Strategy, two High-5 priority areas—feed Africa and improve the quality of life for Africans— and the financial inclusion strategies of Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

The M-KOPA project is aligned with AfDB’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program that seeks to increase access to finance for women.

ADFI is a pan-African initiative designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion throughout Africa, with the goal of ensuring that 332 million more Africans, 60% of them women, gain access to the formal economy.

Read also; Kenya’s Mhogo Foods and Two Nigerian Start-Ups Bag AfDB AgriPitch Competition

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