WIDER Seminar Series

Maureen Odongo on gender disparities and financial inclusion in Tanzania

Online seminar

Maureen Odongo gave a presentation on 15 April 2021, as part of the Sustainable development solutions for Tanzania – strengthening research to achieve SDGs project. The presentation was held as a webinar, in collaboration with UONGOZI Institute. Maureen Odongo gave the presentation on behalf of her co-authors Maureen Were and Caroline Israel.

The event was chaired by Maureen Were, UNU-WIDER Research Fellow.

Abstract - Gender disparities and financial inclusion in Tanzania

Tanzania has made notable progress in enhancing access to financial services. That notwithstanding, gender gap in financial inclusion continues to persist. This study examines gender disparities in financial inclusion in Tanzania using both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

The analysis shows the advent of mobile phone money services has enabled access to formal financial services. However, the gender gap has not diminished. Women are still lagging behind in access and utilization of formal financial services. Based on FinScope survey data for 2017, the empirical results show that controlling for a variety of factors, women are less likely to access mobile and banking financial services compared to men. Similarly, women are less likely to save and borrow compared to men, with a higher percentage opting to keep cash at home or save with a saving group.

The analysis also reveals that gender gaps in financial inclusion can be attributed to limited financial resources, limited financial education and lack of access to smart phones. There is need to be cognizant of gender differences in preferences. Policy initiatives should focus on reducing the cost of smart phones and mobile data, enhancing financial literacy as well as promoting saving groups to reach out to more women to use formal financial services.

About the speaker

Maureen Odongo is a Macroeconomist in the Research Department of the Central Bank of Kenya. Maureen is currently in charge of External Sector Statistics at the Bank. She has specialized in international finance, public policy and development economics. Her research work focuses on international trade, financial economics and public debt, with special focus on gender and development. She is pursuing her PhD (economics) studies at the University of Nairobi.

Prior to joining the Bank, Maureen worked as an economist at the Ministry of planning and national development in Kenya, where she participated in the drafting of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the first Vision 2030 Medium-term Development Plan. She co-authored a book chapter titled: Gender and Kenya Vision 2030: An audit of the Economic Pillar.