The role of digital banking in uplifting women on the African continent
Like many other countries, South Africa has a high number of women-led households who contribute to economic and social development. Based on data collected in 2021, Statistics SA estimates that 7.6 million households in South Africa are headed by women. Therefore, 42.1% of South African households depend on women as their primary breadwinners.
Despite the significant reliance on women, research conducted by the International Research Center for Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation highlights that women face significant challenges that limit their ability to access information, opportunities and the resources needed to uplift themselves and those around them. Specifically, the research shows that women have difficulty maintaining full control of how their money is spent or saved because they don’t have access to the knowledge and tools they need to manage their finances.
Consequently, many female-led households are unable to reach their full economic potential. And the opportunity cost of this is significant. In fact, The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that fully incorporating women into the world economy would add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Bridging the gap is imperative if we want to stimulate economic growth and this is where technology is playing a key role.
Digital banking for example has made it easier and more convenient to access banking services and money management tools. Women who aim to take better control of their finances can open a bank account and access a full suite of banking services through digital banking apps, including savings and investments, personal lending and insurance.
In the first half of 2023, women constituted 51% of clients who opened a savings or investment account through Standard Bank's Mobile Banking App. Around 51% of new loans and 47% of further loans granted through the Standard Bank app were disbursed to women.
In addition to enabling access to financial services, the Standard Bank Mobile Banking App supports clients in developing healthy financial habits and making informed financial decisions through financial management tools such as credit score, money movements or budget manager. Standard Bank data shows that in the first half of 2023, women made payments to the value of R73 billion using digital platforms.
Moreover, 41% of clients who viewed their credit score and 40% who managed their budget through the Banking App were female. Consequently, digital banking can meaningfully support women in maintaining control of how their money is spent, optimising how they use their financial resources to uplift themselves and those around them.
As a bank committed to playing a leading role in driving growth on the African continent, Standard Bank does not only celebrate the role that women play in the development of our continent. We actively support their endeavours by enabling them to conveniently access the information, resources and tools they need to uplift themselves and those around them. Africa is our home; we drive her growth.