As part of the WSBI events in Marrakech, in parallel to the IMF and WB annual meetings, Mr. Isidro Fainé, president of the World Savings Banks and Retail Banks Institute (WSBI) and Mr. Peter Simon, WSBI Managing Director, in the presence of Ms. Wendy Teleki, Head of We-Fi Secretariat (housed in World Bank), signed the WE Finance Code to promote the reduction of the economic gap that affects women entrepreneurs globally, with a special focus on those living in developing countries

This agreement is an opportunity for leaders in the financial sector, including banks, funds, fintechs, regulators and investors, among others, to address female entrepreneurship, key to economic growth, social development and job creation, and boost economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs internationally. Reducing the financial inequality faced by 400 million women entrepreneurs throughout the global economy (with an unmet financing need of $1.7 trillion), could translate to $5-6 trillion in value for the global economy.

The World Savings Banks and Retail Banks Institute (WSBI), organized its General Assembly and the annual meeting of the African Regional Group in Marrakech between the 11th and October 13, with the collaboration of its Moroccan partner Al Barid Bank and within the framework of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Within this framework, the conference “WSBI as a catalyst for unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs” featured an opening speech by Wendy Teleki, Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Secretariat, and contributions from entities associated with WSBI: AGFUND, Banco Estado, LAPO Microfinance Bank and Swedfund.

Ms. Teleki presented the WE Finance Code, a commitment by financial service providers (FSPs), regulators, development banks, and other financial ecosystem players to work together to increase funding provided to women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (WMSMEs) around the world, so that they can grow and add value to the economy and their communities.

The speakers analyzed four key areas to promote female entrepreneurship: empowerment, reducing the digital divide, developing innovative solutions with a gender perspective and adapted to climate change, and ensuring the preparation of FSPs for investment.

WSBI, international commitment to female entrepreneurship

WSBI, created in 1924, is the oldest banking association in the world and represents more than 6,400 savings and retail banks from around the globe. One of WSBI’s strategic objectives is to build inclusive and sustainable financial sectors.

Along these lines, the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute created the Scale2Save initiative in alliance with the Mastercard Foundation with the objective of involving the different actors in the financial sector to evaluate, design and implement projects that help generate resilience and sustainable solutions for the most vulnerable groups. Understanding the impact that the financial sector has on the provision of services to women entrepreneurs, the actions that lead to greater gender equality and agreeing on common metrics that serve these objectives is part of these efforts. The initiative has already managed to develop projects in places such as Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

WSBI’s commitment to promoting women’s economic empowerment goes far beyond Scale2Save. Thus, WSBI has today sealed a new alliance with We-Fi, whose objective is to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries.

About WSBI: Founded in 1924, WSBI brings together savings and retail banks from 64 countries, representing savings and retail banks worldwide. WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry and provides a platform for knowledge exchange between member banks. Its aim is to achieve sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth and job creation. Supporting a diversified range of financial services to meet customer needs, WSBI favors an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair. WSBI recognizes that there are always lessons to be learned from savings and retail banks from different environments and economic circumstances. It, therefore, fosters the exchange of experience and best practices among its members and supports their advancement as sound, well-governed, and inclusive financial institutions.

About Scale2Save: A six-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and WSBI, Scale2Save is a programme to establish the viability of low–balance savings accounts and to understand the extent to which savings allow vulnerable people to boost their financial resilience and wellbeing. Programme work is anchored by developing viable business models with a broad mix of financial service providers that create high-usage cases that widen financial inclusion. Scale2Save empowers partner FSPs to become savings–driven, customer-centric institutions by adding value to all stakeholders along the service value chain. That means weaving programme aims into the fabric of partner bank strategies, encouraging needed culture change within their organisations while fostering a continuous learning environment for people working within them.

Contact Person:
Maria Gaton Fraile
Head of Communications
Tel: +32499899767

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