Fintech Maven Innocent Kawooya appointed Chairperson of BOU Gender Inclusive Finance Working Group

Fintech Maven Innocent Kawooya appointed Chairperson of BOU Gender Inclusive Finance Working Group

Uganda’s seasoned advocate for financial inclusion Innocent Kawooya has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Bank of Uganda’s Promote Gender Inclusive Finance Working Group.

Kawooya is the Chief Executive Officer of Hipipo Uganda, a leading digital age organization that specializes in digital innovation, financial inclusion, inclusive finance, FinTech, events, awards, healthcare, education, and music.

The appointment of Innocent Kawooya to lead the Gender Inclusive Finance Working Group is a testament to this collaborative spirit. The Working Group operates within the framework of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, spanning from 2023 to 2028.

Its primary mission is to spearhead initiatives that promote gender-inclusive finance, ensuring that individuals of all genders have equal access to financial tools, digital literacy training, and opportunities within the financial services sector.

Central to the Working Group’s agenda is the creation of a more inclusive financial ecosystem, particularly focusing on enhancing access for women, girls, and boys. The aim is to equip these individuals with the necessary skills and confidence to navigate the financial landscape effectively.

The significance of broad-based financial inclusion cannot be overstated when it comes to propelling Uganda’s economic growth and development forward. While the country has made commendable strides in recent years, several challenges persist in ensuring that all Ugandans, regardless of their background or circumstances, have access to essential financial services.

Recognizing the urgency of this matter, the government of Uganda, in collaboration with various stakeholders across the financial sector, has devised a comprehensive action plan. This plan outlines a roadmap aimed at enhancing financial inclusion over the next five years.

The core philosophy driving these initiatives is the understanding that no single entity can single-handedly achieve the goal of advancing financial inclusion. It requires a collective effort, with the government, financial institutions, civil society, and development partners pooling their resources, expertise, and knowledge.

This entails developing comprehensive curriculums, facilitating access to gender-responsive financial services, and fostering a supportive regulatory environment.

To achieve these ambitious goals, the Working Group will collaborate closely with a range of stakeholders.

These include the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development; the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives; and the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development. Additionally, partnerships with Financial Service Providers, Financial Sector Regulators, Financial Sector Associations, Development Partners, and various Financial Literacy Associations are integral to the success of the initiatives.

Key expectations of the Working Group’s efforts are:

Establishing female role models which will involve engaging community structures to highlight and promote female leaders in various capacities.

Implementing effective communication strategies to underscore the crucial role of women in society. This includes extensive outreach programs to educate the public.

Mandating all financial institutions to collect sex-disaggregated data. This data is pivotal in designing tailored financial inclusion policies that cater to the unique needs of women in Uganda. Regular monitoring ensures timely identification of gaps, enabling swift intervention strategies.

Advocating for equal access to property ownership, including amendments to the Succession Act to empower widows to inherit land. This includes supporting organizations that provide legal aid to women to ensure the enforcement of such laws.

Enhancing financial literacy programs targeting women, providing them with relevant and timely education to boost their knowledge and confidence in financial services. The aim is to encourage more women to utilize formal financial services, save, invest, and grow their businesses.

Developing accessible and affordable mobile money-based lending products, particularly targeting women in rural areas with limited access to traditional banking services. This could involve partnerships between telecom companies, financial institutions, and government agencies.

Collaborating with financial service providers to create innovative credit products that cater to the specific needs of women. This includes using alternative data sources, such as rent payment history or business savings records, to determine creditworthiness.

Conducting a thorough review and revision of financial sector policies and laws to eliminate any gender biases that hinder women’s access to affordable finance.

Encouraging women to form SACCOS under the Parish Development Model. This includes targeted capacity-building programs and setting achievement targets for women to assess progress under the program.

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