Paper

Microsavings – Pathway to Financial Opportunities for Women

Empowering women through village savings and loan associations in Africa
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This paper discusses Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), a savings led approach that CARE launched in 1991 in Niger, Africa. It highlights the role that United States (U.S.) can play in encouraging governments in developing countries to include women in financial policies and economic opportunities. VSLA empowers women living on less than USD 2 a day to collectively save pennies each week. These savings help to start small businesses, pay for emergency needs, and lift families and communities out of poverty. CARE’s experience shows that access to financial services for women benefits families and communities. CARE has made a strategic investment in increasing access to savings-led financial services in Africa. It has launched 54,000 VSLAs in 21 African countries, serving more than 1.9 million members, nearly all of them women. Policies promoting the economic empowerment of women will create a pathway to financial inclusion. These policies include:

  • Ensuring that U.S. government funds reach the poorest of the poor;
  • Offering a full suite of financial services;
  • Supporting organizations that focus on providing women access to financial services.