|Delegates from JICA Việt Nam and Việt Nam Women’s Union at the signing ceremony in Hà Nội on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy of JICA|
HÀ NỘI — JICA Vietnam Office and the Việt Nam Women’s Union (VWU) signed a record of discussions on Wednesday for the “project of promoting gender responsive financial inclusion through the Việt Nam Women’s Union.”
The technical co-operation project is expected to be implemented from March 2019 to March 2021. It aims at improving VWU’s capacity to promote development and delivery of financial and non-financial services responding to the needs of local women.
Under the project, JICA and VWU will work side by side to provide training to financial service providers such as microfinance organisations and commercial banks on the basis of gender-responsive financial inclusion and good practices from other countries.
At the same time, the project will support selected financial service providers to develop new products which respond to the diversified needs of women at different stages of life.
Lessons learnt and hands-on experiences from the project will be shared with Vietnamese policymakers as references for advocacy in promoting financial inclusion.
In Việt Nam, only 31 per cent of adults have bank accounts. As few as 14 per cent of adults have savings deposits at a financial institution and 21 per cent borrowed money from formal financial institutions.
Although the majority of customers of microfinance services are women, the types of financial products available to them are quite limited.
International experiences have shown women’s financial inclusion generates benefits for society in addition to improvements in the wellbeing of women.
To encourage financial service providers to offer women-friendly products, an enabling policy environment is necessary and thus gender-responsiveness needs to be integrated into national financial inclusion policy.
To address these issues, in 2016, the Government of Việt Nam asked the Government of Japan for technical co-operation to promote gender responsive financial inclusion.
For JICA, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women is crucial to achieve the “inclusive development” goal. — VNS