In West Africa, many populations face multiple barriers to economic empowerment, including low literacy rates and poor overall financial literacy. This is particularly true for women and people living in rural areas.
The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) is doing its part to make a difference. It has mandated Desjardins International Development, Aflatoun International, Centre africain d'études supérieures en gestion (CESAG) and the firm Optim Axes Sénégal to work together to improve financial literacy among women, young people, business owners and rural populations in the 8 countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, also known as UEMOA (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo).
Financial education as a stepping stone to economic empowerment
First, the initiative will focus on integrating financial education into the educational systems, so that marginalized populations in these 8 countries can gain the skills and knowledge needed to make informed financial decisions.
DID is responsible for creating financial education training sessions and materials for people outside of the school system, particularly women, including those who own businesses. They will also train coaches, to ensure that DID's work can continue on a local level over the long term, without further direction.
Strengthening the financial sector for more effective development
Marginalized populations can become more economically empowered when they have access to strong and inclusive financial institutions that can provide services and effective guidance to the communities they serve.
That's why we're very proud to be partnering with Alia Développement to improve the microfinance sectors in the 8 UEMOA member states, with the support of the BCEAO.
For this project, we'll be leveraging our expertise in inclusive finance to help rehabilitate and restructure struggling microfinance institutions, which will ultimately make local financial services more accessible and solid.
These 2 projects will help people become more economically empowered and help reduce poverty, while supporting gender equity and economic growth in the area.