23 February 2016

Rwanda: Tigo Rwanda Moves to Reduce Gender Gap in Mobile Internet, Mobile Money Services

Tigo Rwanda yesterday signed up for the Connected Women Commitment Initiative that aims at reducing the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services. This was during the GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona, Spain.

According to a statement, Tigo was the only telecom firm in Africa to sign the commitment.

"Tigo Rwanda has pledged to increase the percentage of women accessing its mobile financial platform 'Tigo Cash' from 39 per cent of total users to 45 per cent by 2020," reads the statement in part.

This commitment will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Speaking after the signing, Tigo Rwanda CEO, Tongai Maramba, said: "Women take on a significant amount of responsibility for their families' financial management, including emergency payments, remittances and daily domestic management; in fact women direct up to 90 per cent of their income to their families and communities."

He added: "Increasing women's access to mobile financial services will in turn allow them to improve their quality of life, that of their families and that of their communities."

Women left out

According to Mats Granryd, the Director General of GSMA, in an increasingly connected world women are being left behind.

"GSMA research estimates there are 200 million fewer women than men who own a mobile phone in low- and middle-income countries. But even when women do own a mobile device, they are far less likely to use it for more sophisticated services, such as mobile internet and mobile money, and therefore miss out on key socio-economic opportunities," said Granryd.

Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is critically important, as when women thrive, societies, businesses and economies thrive, he said.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

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