ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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Bogolo Kenewendo: Innovative financial technologies in Africa should be designed with women in mind

A holistic review of legislation and regulations that hamper women’s economic participation can pave the way for new and equitable financial technologies and businesses.

Amujae Leader and G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) Member Bogolo Kenewendo argued that in order for women to have economic agency and for them to benefit from innovative financial services discriminatory policies must be abolished:

“We can’t talk about women having proper jobs or being properly active in the economies, when there still policies and regulations that prohibit them from owning land, that prohibit them from having a bank account without the signature of a man.”

Ms. Kenewendo’s remarks were made at a recent Warwick Africa Summit panel discussion, which took stock of the current state of economic development in Africa and the extent of the continent’s integration into the global economy. She was joined by Mayowa Kuyoro, Partner at McKinsey & Company, Benjamin Fernandes, Founder and CEO of African money transfer startup NALA, Abubakar Suleiman, CEO of Sterling Bank, and Toni Fola-Alade, CEO of fintech startup Nomad.

To stimulate the economic environment, both governments and the private sector must work together to design appropriate regulations and policies, said Ms. Kenewendo. This will encourage innovative approaches to providing greater financial inclusion to women, particularly those working in the informal sector.

Ms. Kenewendo added that governments must weigh in to support women entrepreneurs and facilitate the financing of women-owned businesses.

Speaking about her experience as Botswana’s youngest woman minister, Ms. Kenewendo said that her age didn’t prevent her from challenging the status quo or creating positive change where long-standing barriers prevented socio-economic progress.

In her concluding remarks, Ms. Kenewendo addressed Africa’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs and youth saying that they should put their energy into the development of their home economies and the continent as a whole:

“There’s currently an Africa rush, everybody wants a piece of Africa, wants to invest in Africa, wants to do business on the continent… So do not be left out of the rush. I think it would be sad to see that Africans are left out of their own growth, out of their own development, while we’re busy being elsewhere and focusing on other things.”

Watch the full discussion here: https://bit.ly/35ATAmQ

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