Making Finance Work for Women for 45 Years | Dr. Jennifer Riria

April 18, 2024

To celebrate Women’s World Banking’s 45th anniversary, we are showcasing the voices of individuals from around the world who have shaped and touched Women’s World Banking journey. These are stories from across Women’s World Banking’s reach from the women we serve and our customers, to allies and women in leadership who have contributed to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

Meet Dr. Jennifer Riria, the President and CEO of Echo Network and one of Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs. She is distinguished as a microfinance banker and practitioner, researcher and gender specialist. She has served in many leadership roles for which she has been recognized locally and internationally. In 2013 she was awarded the Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the year, East Africa 2013, and subsequently, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014, at which point she was admitted to EY’s Global Hall of Fame. 

Few women in the microfinance world are as recognizable as Jennifer. If there is one woman that is proof of the power of individual entrepreneurs to make a difference, it’s her. She has singlehandedly transformed the microfinance industry in her native Kenya in order to tangibly improve the lives of nearly 1 million women. Because of her efforts, hundreds of thousands of Kenyan women have first-time access to finance, previously not available to them, and as a result, are today empowered to live their lives and fulfill their own potential and dreams.  

In episode 10 of The Making Finance Work for Women Podcast, Jennifer delves into the intersection of climate change and digital financial inclusion with a prominent African women’s right advocate. Her journey provides unique insights into the urgent need for innovative solutions to combat climate change while fostering financial inclusion, especially for women. The initiatives discussed will unveil the crucial role of digital financial inclusion in empowering communities affected by climate change, particularly women.

Join us as we explore the transformative potential of climate-conscious finance and the indispensable role of women like our guest in shaping a more resilient and equitable future for all.  

Women’s World Banking is dedicated to economic empowerment through financial inclusion for the nearly one billion women in the world with no or limited access to formal financial services. Using our sophisticated market and consumer research, we turn insights into real action to design and advocate for policy engagement, digital financial solutions, workplace leadership programs, and gender lens investing.

As part of our current strategy, we’ve helped provide 37 million women in emerging markets – targeting 100 million by 2027 – access and use of financial products and services that are transforming women’s lives, households, businesses and communities, and driving inclusive growth globally.

Join Jennifer and help us reach the nearly billion women still excluded from the formal financial system. Donate now.