The Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion along with its partners launched a Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Policy, or GESI for short, for microfinance institutions.
The policy is designed to improve financial inclusion by strengthening PNG’s financial sector and to close the gender gap in financial inclusion.
According to the Central Bank, an estimated 70 to 75 percent of the total population is excluded from access to the formal financial sector.
Currently, only 40 percent of adults have a deposit/transaction account and a lack of access to financial services for women compared to that of men is particularly dire.
The banks overall goal at the beginning of the first National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2014-2015 was to bank one million more unbanked low-income people and 50 percent of those one million new deposit or transaction accounts should be owned by women.
At the end of the first strategy period, more than 1.2 million new deposit accounts were opened; however, the percentage of new accounts opened and owned by women was only 26 percent.
Therefore, the development of the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion policy for microfinance institutions is a milestone towards full implementation of the Denarau Action Plan, a 10-point action plan committed to gender and women’s financial inclusion.
The policy is a flagship initiative by the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion, the Asian Development Bank and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.