The Center for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) with the theme ‘DigitAll: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.’
Fourteen Women in Small and Medium Enterprise (WSMEs) businesses under the Ledger Pal App Pilot Project were invited by CEFI to attend the IWD celebration-activities and had the privilege of listening to two national digital online entrepreneurs sharing their experiences of conducting business in the digital platform. These women entrepreneurs were, Ms. Ginia Sialis, Director and Business Owner of Tapioca Delight and Ms. Deslisha Wasem, Owner of Shebon Kiddy Box. Two other senior women, Ms. Naime Kilamanu, Chief Information Officer (ICT) – Bank of PNG and Ms. Fulaiyo James, Project Manager – MiBank, also spoke to the women on their experience of working in leadership roles in their respective financial institutions.
CEFI Executive Director, Mr. Garima Tongia when speaking at the IWD event on Wednesday March 8, told the women that CEFI recognises the importance of innovations and technology in the financial inclusion space.
“At CEFI we realise that bringing women out from the subsistence informal sector into the formal monetised economy will empower them to contribute meaningfully to their families and communities thereby wining the respect from those in the community including the men folk and hence being recognised as equals,” Mr. Tongia said.
“CEFI wants to ensure an additional one million women are banked during the period 2023 – 2027. As at September 2022, we have 1.4 million accounts for women from the total 3.8 million representing 37%,” said Mr. Tongia when highlighting the importance of women’s inclusion in the monetised economy.
Bank of Papua New Guinea Acting Assistant Governor, Mr. George Awap encouraged the women that to empower women economically would mean providing opportunities for women to venture into sustainable income generating activities so they are recognised as important contributors to family welfare. Mr. Awap said the sad reality in PNG is that many basic services including banking cannot reach many women and also men due to the harsh geographical terrains, high security risks and rundown public infrastructures.
“Technological innovations remain the answer to basic service delivery including banking in a country like PNG,” Mr. Awap said.
CEFI Financial Inclusion Adviser, Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe when speaking on the topic of Potential for Women Business, Vision for the Future, said technology has created new opportunities for women and great opportunities for business.
“Digital literacy has become an important aspect and that the businesswomen need to build a long-term vision for its business and build a strong partnership with the banking sector.”