2020 Vision

Future Focus

Four GBA board members shared their vision for improving women’s economic empowerment over the next few years. They highlighted the importance of data as well as engaging diverse financial services organizations. While many of the presenters noted great improvement in internal diversity and contextual elements around the world that are empowering women, everyone acknowledged that there is still a long way to go.

Key Points

    • Access Bank started its Women’s Market program with the IFC in 2014. They have recorded a marked increase in the number of women customers. The program has been embedded into the bank’s core strategy, and they are the only bank in Nigeria that is committed to serving the needs of women.
    • Access Bank’s aim is to help women be more bankable through education. They are also committed to constantly changing to serve the needs of their customers.
    • Some of the elements of the program include: product bundles with a focus on long-term relationships, some products for women specifically, maternal health support services, an online platform, and the W Awards, recognizing women who have impacted their communities and tried to positively shift Nigeria as a whole.
    • They are contributing to the support of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, as more than 20,000 women entrepreneurs have accessed funds, learning and technical support to date. The most popular session is on “Demystifying the Bank” and breaking down the loan application process.

2020 Vision 2016 GBA Summit

    • The IFC and the World Bank’s gender strategy helps clients close the gender gap in both the private and public sectors. Their strategy is aiming to provide access to jobs and assets for women, as well as increase productivity, increase access to financial products and strengthen human capital.
    • The IFC’s Banking on Women Program offers financial institutions access to finance and advisory services. The program currently has a portfolio of $1.2 billion, and they plan to double this in the next 2 to 3 years. Another IFC focus is digital banking, which increases women’s participation in the global economy and workforce and generally improves the performance of businesses. Closing the gender data gap is a key part of their strategy.
    • Sex-disaggregated data is critical. It helps make the case for why banking on women is important. It proves the viability of the market on a commercial basis. The IFC encourages clients to collect this information. They requested actual data on women-owned SMEs from more than 300 clients through their Reach survey. Around 40 percent of those clients were able to provide the data.
    • There has been a shift in the discourse around economic empowerment of women from 2009 to now. It was part of the conversation then, but now it is central to the conversation, and much progress has been made in a relatively short period of time.
    • People around the world understand that women are a real market and a profitable market. However, to be successful, a focused strategy is required.

2020 Vision 2016 GBA Summit

  • A significantly lower percentage of women than men have life insurance. If a woman does not have life insurance, she is likely to put away money just in case. She therefore does not invest that money in her business, and her business does not grow as quickly.
  • The GBA built a business case for the banks. Now the business case needs to be developed for other segments, such as insurance.
  • We also need to think more about digital solutions. How can we use them and integrate them better into the banks?
  • The audience gathered to discuss the most important things that need to happen in their organizations and more broadly to impact women’s economic empowerment. The results included:
    • Integrate the women’s strategy with digital transformation.
    • Leverage governments’ agendas for financial inclusion.
    • Increase the number of women in senior positions and on the board.
    • Add more financial institutions to the GBA.
    • Involve central banks so everyone is aligned.
    • Develop insurance offerings for women.
    • Partner with universities for training and education.
    • Analyze the profitability of different segments.

Panels Button

2020 Vision 2016 GBA Summit


Chair, Global Banking Alliance for Women; Assistant General Manager, BLC Bank

Chairman, Access Bank Plc

Senior Manager, Financial Institutions Group, IFC

Executive Vice President/COO, Inter-American Development Bank


“At the current pace, according to the World Economic Forum, by 2095 the world will not eliminate the gender gap. We need faster change.”
— Tania Moussallem

“I was the first woman on the board of Access Bank. Now there are five.”
— Mosun Belo-Olusoga

“Sex-disaggregated data proves the viability of [banking on women] on a commercial basis.”
— Sharmila Hardi

“If women control 30 percent of wealth but only 22 percent of assets, there is a gap of 8 percent, which is a $3 trillion opportunity.” 
— Julie T. Katzman