The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) will work together to find innovative ways to finance Fiji’s women entrepreneurs.
The partnership will focus on research, policy dialogue, special projects and advisory services designed to provide innovative financial services for women entrepreneurs in Fiji as part of ESCAP’s Catalysing Women Entrepreneurship Programme.
The partnership aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with a strengthened focus on vulnerable communities, women, youth, and people with disabilities. The new strategy has four key areas: inclusive finance, digital financial services, MSME finance, and consumer protection and financial capability.
“There is also a central recognition that women are a driving force in the entrepreneurial space and thus, the pursuit of equal access will only enhance the overall economic picture in Fiji,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UNESCAP Executive Secretary at the virtual signing ceremony.
The RBF has led Fiji’s National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT) since it began in 2009. Over the last decade, the NFIT has seen expansion of financial services of all kinds across Fiji. Adults with formal financial service accounts has increased from 64% to 81% since 2014 .
There has also been improved access to digital financial services and increased financial literacy in the general public However, a gender-gap of 13% remains between men and women in terms of access to bank accounts. This gap is even wider for access to bank loans. The aim is to reduce these gaps in the coming years under this partnership.