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  • Сonference on Women and Finance

Financial Access for Women and All High-level event was held in Washington D.C.

Financial Inclusion conference was held on in Washington D.C. on the premises of the IMF Spring Meetings on April 21, 2013 by the Russia G20 Presidency, World Bank, IFC with the aim to advance financial inclusion for poor people with special focus on women.

H.R.H. Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, Deputy Finance Minister of Russia Sergey Storchak, World Bank Group Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Jin-Yong Cai, Minister of Finance of Nigeria Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance of Uganda Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance of Indonesia Agus Dermawan Martowardojo, and others discussed how to create financial inclusion pathways for women - and the world's poorest.

The World Bank Group, along with the G20 under Russia's Presidency, is working to expand financial inclusion so that the unbanked get the chance to transform their lives. The Financial Inclusion Support Framework, which was launched during the event by the World Bank Group and development partners.

As Deputy Minister of Finance Mr.Sergey Storchak said "We believe that the greater access to the financial services can impact greatly production and job creation and as the result reduce poverty and improve people's lives. We believe that the Financial Inclusion Support Framework will strongly complement them as an important mechanism to make technical, advisory and capacity building support available for country led financial inclusion actions."

The framework will be build on the substantial body of knowledge, evidence, and tools produced with support from the Russia World Bank Trust Fund for Financial Literacy.

"Through the Financial Inclusion Support Framework we will bring our knowledge, expertise and financing to bear in support of governments and regulators, leading to reforms that will unlock private sector investment and innovation." the World Bank Group Managing Director Sri Mulyani said. She also emphasized the importance of a joint approach with partners: "This Framework will also help promote closer coordination and shared financial inclusion efforts with regional development banks and bilateral donor partners."

Financial inclusion for women contributes to achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty. In current economic, social and financial situation, there is a strong need to provide better economic and financial opportunities for both men and women. However, women need financial literacy and financial inclusion even more than men. 1.35 billion women still don't have access to any form of basic financial services. They excluded from the possibility of financing their personal and family needs, children education, healthcare, insurance and do not have access to finance for opening a small business. They do not have services to produce stable savings and to create wealth and to secure their financial future and well-being.

The 2012 G20 Leaders Declaration recognized the importance of women's access to finance and financial education and need to identify barriers they may face. In response to the Leaders call Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) with the OECD/INFE, the World Bank and other implementing partners together with the Russia's G20 Presidency will produce a dedicated report and policy recommendations.

During the meeting the Women's Finance Hub was launched with the aim to help advance access to finance for women-owned businesses by disseminating research and information on critical issues related to the women's market. It will also address gaps in data, promote collaboration in knowledge sharing, and highlight innovation and best practices in expanding women's access to finance.

"Women-owned enterprises represent significant untapped economic potential," said Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC's Vice President for Business Advisory Services. "It will take much more than credit to unlock that potential. It will also be necessary to expand financial literacy, leverage best practices, and put in place policies and regulations that remove barriers to women's participation in the economy. The Women's Finance Hub will provide an important boost to global efforts in these areas."