WorldRemit International Women Day www.businesstoday.co.ke
Women are overrepresented among the over one billion people who do not have identity documents and are excluded from financial services. Photo / WorldRemit

Remittances sent and received by women are usually spent on household provisions and healthcare, which have indirect societal benefits. However, as women tend to remit smaller amounts more often as compared to men, they are subject to higher transaction costs.

Research by the UN & EU Women Migrant Project suggests that female remittance senders could be susceptible to paying more than male counterparts to transfer the same amount of money. According to the Global Migration Group, women have paid remittance fees of up to 20% more than men.

Transformative impact

Women are overrepresented among the over one billion people across the world who do not have proof of identity documents and are, therefore, excluded from access to financial services. Our vision at WorldRemit is to accelerate financial inclusion, in line with the objectives of the African Development Bank’s Digital Financial Inclusion Facility. We are driving this through our mobile-first approach and are now the leading provider of remittances to mobile money wallets across the world.

Digital financial services such as mobile money have the potential to drive greater financial inclusion, gender parity and sustained economic growth. With over 122 million users of mobile money services in Africa, and smartphone connections forecast to grow to 636 million in 2022, hitting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which call for equality and lower remittance costs is likely to depend on building the right infrastructure to support consumers.

Digital approaches to financial services such as mobile money, are having a transformative impact on low-income households, as they provide a path to greater financial security and prosperity. Research by MIT revealed that access to mobile money lifted 2% of the Kenyan population out of poverty. Mobile money was also found to have enabled Kenyans to set up their own businesses.

The impact was even more pronounced for female-led households, where mobile money was thought to have given women the freedom to move from agricultural jobs to entrepreneurial and formal employment. According to the MasterCard index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019, Botswana, Ghana and Uganda have more women in business as a percentage of all business owners than any other developed market.

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It is a well-known fact that women have historically been underrepresented in the financial and technology sectors. The median age in Africa is 19, and for the continent to capitalise on its demographic dividend, women must be given the same opportunities that are afforded to men. Organisations such as Akira’s Chix, which is based in Nairobi, are aiming to boost representation by providing mentoring and training to young women, in preparation for roles in the technology sector.

Here at WorldRemit, we are proud to highlight the notable contributions made to fintech by our colleagues, Sharon Kinyanjui and Cynthia Ponera.

Sharon is the Head of East & Central Africa. She is responsible for our development and expansion across over 10 markets in these regions. Sharon is a team leader, with extensive technical expertise gained through over 15 years of international business development.

Sharon Kinyanjui: The Head of East & Central Africa. Photo / WorldRemit

Sharon has extensive knowledge and experience of remittances as she previously held key management roles across the EMEA region at Western Union.

“Inclusion of women in the tech space needs to become standard practice,” Sharon says. “We need to build an enabling environment that allows girls to flourish in the fintech space. Women are frequent consumers of tech and therefore need to be included in the conversation. Qualified women should continue to take more leadership positions within organizations in the tech ecosystem.”

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Cynthia Ponera

Cynthia is our country manager for Tanzania. She is responsible for generating new business in Tanzania through building relationships with partners and identifying key areas for growth. Cynthia has extensive experience in the banking industry, specialising in digital and alternative channels. It is here that she became chairperson of the Women Network Forum, which was created to empower women to take leadership roles.

She championed the #SheforShe and #HeforShe campaigns, where she challenged men and women in leadership positions to provide mentoring to upcoming female talent. In keeping with her passion for technology and how it can be used to empower women, Cynthia’s master’s thesis was on the effect of mobile money on female financial inclusion in Tanzania.

Away from work, Cynthia is a daughter, sister, aunt and mother. Her hobbies include photography, basketball, swimming and advising female artisans on how to use social media to network and develop their businesses.

Through delivering a fast, secure and convenient money transfer service, WorldRemit is making a lasting contribution to the sustainable development of inclusive fintech in Africa. Whether you are a mother, sister, wife, daughter or an auntie, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes this International Women’s Day.

About WorldRemit

WorldRemit is a leading fintech providing international money transfer services. We disrupted an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players by taking international money transfers online – making them safer, faster and lower-cost. We currently send from 50 to 150 countries, operate in 6,500 money transfer corridors worldwide and employ over 800 people worldwide.

On the sending side, WorldRemit is 100% digital (cashless), increasing convenience and enhancing security. For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of options including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money.

Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – WorldRemit’s headquarters are in London, UK with a global presence including in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

For more information visit www.worldremit.com  

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About the Author

WorldRemit is a leading fintech providing international money transfer services. For more information visit www.worldremit.com

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