Dar es Salaam. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has launched the Finance2Equal Tanzania Initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation across businesses by reducing gender gaps in leadership, employment, access to financial products and services.

Dan Kasirye, IFC’s Resident Representative for Tanzania and Uganda, said at the weekend that the financial services sector is the backbone for economic growth and the inclusion of women is critical in ensuring increased participation and reducing gender gaps in access to jobs and assets.

“Our work with private sector companies has shown that reducing gender gaps results in better outcomes for businesses, economies, and women,” he said.

Studies show that only 12 per cent of women in Tanzania have a bank account or use banking services. While about 50 per cent of women use formal non-banking channels such as microfinance and mobile money, leaving the rest to rely on informal services or remain financially excluded.

Private companies that will participate in the programme will commit to implement at least two gender-smart strategies on recruitment, retention and promotion of women, rolling out women-centric products and services, diversification of supply chains and sex-disaggregating portfolio data while communicating about these initiatives.

Progress on these commitments will be tracked throughout the time-bound 18 months programme and published in and-of-project best practice public report.