Savings groups fill financial inclusion gap in rural areas

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Professor Eves speaking at the Research Launch last week.
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BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE

Professor Eves speaking at the Research Launch last week.

ACCORDING to Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) 2016 report of Solomon Islands financial services demand side surveys, the ratio of women to men with bank accounts is 20.1 percent to 31.8.

Associate Professor Richard Eves from Australian National University’s department of Pacific Affairs expressed this during last week’s Research Launch at the Heritage Park Hotel.

In 2014, he carried out a case study in Makira and Malaita provinces and worked with women’s savings groups to understand whether economic advancement in Solomon Islands had positive or negative outcomes.

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Moreover, speaking of financial inclusion Mr Eves said that while the 2016 PFIP report indicates a lower percentage of women with bank accounts compared to men, informal financial services said otherwise.

“Despite this, 85 percent of women reported saving, with a high proportion saying this was done at home or in informal financial services, such as savings clubs,” he said.

Eves furthers that savings groups are one modality for delivering women’s economic empowerment interventions.

“In Solomon Islands, savings groups have been extremely popular and durable, emerging as a low-cost vehicle for providing much needed financial services, as well as keeping capital within in the local community,” he said.

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