WACSI and CARE Partner to Empower African Women
It can never be understated, the relevance of women’s financial inclusion to the well-being of communities and society.
According to UN Women research, economically empowered women grow economies, boost education and benefit children. In West Africa however, women have been deliberately or otherwise refused access to financial services to enable them improve their socio-economic standing. Notably in 2014, only 12% of women in West Africa had accounts in financial institutions and 6.5% saved in financial institutions, compared to 18% and 10% for men respectively.
WACSI and CARE believe the future of a strong and resilient West Africa lies in the empowerment of its women and rendering them financially inclusive. As such, both organizations have come together to champion this cause. Through the “Women on the Move” Impact Growth initiative, CARE and WACSI seek to empower about 8 million poor and socially excluded women and girls between the ages of 15 and 64 across 14 countries in the region. We believe that if a critical mass of women’s groups, specifically savings groups, are part of a social movement, and women and girls have greater power to influence unequal social norms, they will experience positive change in their socio-economic status and be able to influence change at all levels.
WACSI and CARE, through this partnership, have pledged their commitment: to build a coalition of like-minded organizations working with savings groups in West Africa to scale up the model and its impact; connect and convene savings groups and civil society organizations to catalyze collective action; energize financial service providers and IT companies to develop tailored services for these groups and influence governments to adopt and implement the savings groups’ models in their development strategies, laws and policies.
WACSI and CARE teams after MoU signing
Signing the MoU at the WACSI Secretariat in Accra, Mr. Diawary Bouare, Regional Director of CARE West Africa, expressed his profound excitement about the initiative and the partnership with WACSI. “We believe we need to connect with key players in West Africa and change the way we do business so that governments, multinational and sub-regional bodies learn that we can come together and invest rightfully…WACSI is already a kind of representation of West Africa and we are proud to be engaged and learn from WACSI,” he stated. “Change isn’t about money… it’s about people moving away from the ‘flag’ and coming together to achieve genuine progress. I genuinely believe we can achieve this.”
Echoing his sentiment, Ms. Nana Afadzinu, Executive Director of WACSI, stated, “we’ve been working on this for a long time and we’re happy to finally formalize this partnership. We believe that together we can achieve great things and transform the region through empowering its women.”
The Women on the Move Initiative essentially seeks to close the social, political and economic gap between men and women in Chad, Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, Niger, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. It will serve as an enabling platform for women the influence and status they need to effect change for themselves.
 Worldbank, Global Findex 2014