WWB White Paper on Providing Women Access to Financial Services in Response to Proposals by the G‐20 Financial Inclusion Group

January 27, 2012

At the G‐20 Seoul Summit in November 2010, the G‐20 Leaders endorsed the ‘Financial Inclusion Action Plan’ and the creation of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI). From that came a subgroup on SME finance designed to identify and scale up successful models of SME financing. The group introduced a work stream to address the challenges women entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses, which the group acknowledged as “major bottlenecks to growth and development.” This work stream encompasses research and data, policy recommendations and identification of finance models geared to the needs of women entrepreneurs. According to the subgroup, “In many countries, half or more micro businesses are owned by women. But research shows that a disproportionate share of these businesses fail to grow and evidence so far suggests that access to finance is one major constraint for growth. Other barriers include constraints on mobility, competing household responsibilities, risk aversion, lack of training, exclusion from entrepreneurial networks, and social restrictions.”

Within this context, the GPFI released a report, “Strengthening Access to Finance for Women SMEs in Developing Countries,” at the G‐20 Summit in Cannes on November 4, 2011. The report sets out to analyze the issues in improving access to finance for women‐owned businesses. The report highlights key trends, challenges and opportunities for advancing women’s entrepreneurship and increasing their access to finance, including identifying financial and non‐financial institutions with scalable approaches; highlighting knowledge gaps and providing policy recommendations.

Women’s World Banking’s Response

Women’s World Banking (WWB) was asked by several G‐20 governments to comment on the subgroup’s report. We welcomed the opportunity to expand upon the analysis presented in the report and are delighted to see a commitment to financial inclusion by the G‐20 Leaders and their acknowledgement that women face different or additional barriers to entry in accessing finance.
Read the entire white paper here.