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AfDB approves $1.3m grant to boost women’s access to loans, micro-insurance

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two research grants worth $1.3 million to boost African women’s access to loans and micro-insurance.

The grants, $1 million and $300,000, will be disbursed to two financial technology firms, Pula Advisors Kenya Limited, and M-KOPA Kenya Limited, through Africa Digital Financial Inclusion (ADFI) facility, which is a blended finance vehicle.

Pula Advisors will use the $1 million for research of social, cultural, and economic factors that impact women farmers’ access to micro-insurance in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia.

The research findings will inform the design and implementation of gender-centric insurance products while the project will be undertaken over a three-year period.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Bank’s Coordinator for ADFI, Sheila Okiro, said the facilities would be used to leverage technology, develop innovative and responsive loan, and insurance products that would spur productivity and inclusion especially for women smallholder farmers and traders in Africa.

READ ALSO: AfDB gives SEC $.4m grant to strengthen Nigeria’s capital markets

She said the project would be in three phases – product development, piloting and scaling, while the outcomes are expected to benefit about 360,000 farmers to boost farm yields by about 30 percent as well as raise incomes, and enhances household and national food security.

M-KOPA will use the $300,000 grant for researches involving about 250 women and 250 men in Kenya’s Kisumu, Eldoret, and Machakos counties.

The company will assess the barriers to opportunities for women’s access to digital financial services and financial literacy programmes via smartphone, and use the research insights to design a financial services app that is relevant to small-scale women traders.

The project which is approved by the Bank on February 9 will benefit women with no or limited access to financial services that run small informal businesses.

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