Women, youth in Sierra Leone least financially included

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November 26, 2018

A research conducted by the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET)  has revealed that in Sierra Leone access to financial points is concentrated in the big towns and cities and that women and youth are worse off in terms of financial inclusion than other groups within the economy.

A release from the centre stated that the findings would be discussed at a workshop to validate research on financial inclusion on Tuesday 27 November in Freetown.

The ACET research project which was supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, stated that some restrictions to financial access include transaction costs, waiting times, transportation costs and proximity.

“Since payment services are at the heart of the day-to-day operations of a modern economy, widening and deepening the financial system in Sierra Leone to include the myriad of women’s and youth exchange and payment activities can make an important contribution to overall performance of the economy, creating jobs, and adding value to national output,” the release states.

 It stated that in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, the Central Bank of Sierra Leone recently developed a new National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2017-2020 (NSFI) to prioritise efforts that remove impediments to greater financial inclusion and find innovative ways to expand access and deliver pro-poor products and services.

The workshop will provide a platform for key stakeholders, including those interviewed during the study, to appraise and validate the findings of the study. It will bring together experts and senior officials from key government ministries, department and agencies, a broad range of women’s and youth associations, financial institutions, civil society organizations and academia.

The Sierra Leone workshop is the second of three planned validation workshops on the continent. The first validation workshop was held in Zambia on 6 November. The third and final workshop will be held in Guinea in early 2019.