Alexander De Croo asks the World Bank to focus more on the financial inclusion of women

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo asked the World Bank to focus more on the inclusion of women in the financial system. He was speaking at a debate attended by World Bank President Jim Kim and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Minister De Croo takes part until Sunday at the yearly Spring Meetings of the World Bank, in Washington DC.

Around the world, one woman out of three - that is 1.1 billion women - has not access to the financial system. The number of women having access to their own bank account is markedly inferior to that of men. This makes them more vulnerable to theft and to being exploited.

In a debate with the World Bank President Jim Kim and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Minister De Croo mentioned the access to technology as one of the levers which can fill the gap between man and women in respect of financial inclusion.

The power of digitalisation 

“Digitalisation allows women all over the world to gain more easily access to financial services. I’m thinking in particular at the importance of mobile phones which became in some countries the equivalent of a bank account” explains the Minister. “The use of new technologies like blockchain can improve the access of women to financial services”.

To make gender equality happen, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, this gap in respect of access to financial services must be closed. It is not only important for the protection of the individual rights of women, but it would also increase the world’s GDP by about 12 billion dollars.

More Belgians at the World Bank

Minister De Croo takes part in the World Bank’s Spring Meetings and in the Development Committee. This is the yearly meeting of ministers of Development cooperation and ministers of Finance on topics such as the fight against poverty and economic development.

In the margins of the Spring Meetings, Minister De Croo will meet with World Bank President Jim Kim and Bill Gates to discuss about innovative types of cooperation. Saturday, the Minister will sign an agreement so that more Belgians can join the World Bank Group in the future.

Largest beneficiary of Belgium’s development budget

During this year’s Spring Meetings, a state of play of the strategy of the World Bank and a capital increase will be discussed. Minister De Croo will support together with his colleague Van Overtveldt an increase of means in favor of least developed countries. Other priorities are to better mobilize the private sector, to give more attention to issues of climate change, migrations and gender.

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s main aid organization in the world. It is also the largest beneficiary of Belgium’s development budget, to the tune of 105 million euros. The two main objectives of the World Bank Group are the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030 and the promotion of a shared prosperity, defined as an inclusive and sustainable growth for the 40% poorest part of the population.