The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, AfDB has awarded a grant of $320,535 to the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) to mainstream gender in economic community of West African states’ core digital financial services regulatory frameworks.

According to a statement from the bank on Tuesday, the funds will support a gender gap analysis of several WAMA strategies including those for financial inclusion, gender disaggregation data analytics, digital payment services and infrastructure as well as digital identity.

The AfDB said the project to be executed over a three-year period would potentially affect 350 million people in Nigeria and the 14 other ECOWAS nations.

It added that the grant would be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), a blended finance vehicle supported by the bank.

The ADFI Coordinator, Sheila Okiro said that: “With a secretariat comprising all the 15 ECOWAS Central banks, WAMA plays a pivotal role in the consolidation and implementation of strategic financial inclusion objectives.

“ADFI and the WAMA project team will work closely with other ecosystem players in the region to ensure harmonization of efforts for maximum impact.”

According to the bank, the project has the potential to raise by 35 per cent women’s participation in digital financial market operations in the region, which has a higher gender disparity than other parts of the continent.

It recalled that the 2017 findex report stated that Africa had a gender-inclusion gap of 11 per cent as compared to the global average of nine per cent.

The AfDB said to address this challenge, it was imperative that gender was mainstreamed across all functions and more so at the level of policy and regulation.

Net/Babatunde Tiamiyu

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