The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two grants of 1.3 million U.S. dollars for research aimed to increase African women’s access to a range of digital financial services, including loans and micro-insurance.

According to a statement from the AfDB on Monday, the grants for 1 million dollars and 300,000 dollars respectively, will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).

ADFI is an innovative financing facility designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion across Africa, with a goal of ensuring that 332 million more Africans, of which, some 60 percent are women, have access to the formal economy, said the AfDB at its official website.

The statement said 1 million dollars will be for research of social, cultural and economic factors that impact women farmers’ access to microinsurance in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

And the other 300,000 dollars grant will fund research involving 250 women and 250 men in Kenya.

Sheila Okiro, the bank’s coordinator for ADFI, said in the statement the grant funding will be used to leverage technology to develop innovative and responsive loan and insurance products that can spur productivity and inclusion, especially for our women smallholder farmers and traders.

The statement also noted that research findings would inform the design and implementation of gender-centric insurance products and the project would be for a three-year time frame.

The projects would benefit women with no or limited access to financial services to run small informal businesses, said the statement, adding a mobile app will be developed to pilot small loans to the beneficiaries. Enditem

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