Financial Inclusion The Gateway For Investing In Poor And Vulnerable Women And Accelerating Their Progress 

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Being a Public Statement by the Civil Society Co-chair of the OGP Kaduna Technical Working Group on Strengthening Social Protection System in Commemoration of 2024 International Women’s Day

By; SUMAYYA ABDULLAHI HUSSAINI

Today, March 8, 2024, the Technical Working Group on Strengthening Social Protection Systems of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Kaduna joins the global community in celebrating the achievements of women, highlighting their peculiar challenges and advocating for their rights world wide. 

According to the Kaduna State Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, 85.1% of females in Kaduna are below the international poverty line. 

While commemorating women’s achievements, it is crucial to amplify the above challenges faced by women. We believe that financial inclusion is the gateway for women to be socially protected from such challenges. It is also a crucial step towards fulfilling the commitment made by the governor in his Sustain Manifesto to alleviate poverty and empower women as dynamic contributors to the economy.

Therefore, it is pertinent for the OGP TWG on Strengthening Social Protection System to acknowledge and commend the Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, for signing the Financial Inclusion in Kaduna State Order, 2023. The Order seeks to include about 1 million poor, underserved, unbanked and vulnerable citizens in the financial services sector in the next one year. 

Furthermore, we urge the Kaduna State Government to ensure that all targeted poor and vulnerable women in the state are banked and have access to financial empowerment and other services. To achieve this, we call on the Governor to accelerate the implementation of the third Order, which is: “The State Government, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including CSOs, NGOs and Financial Technology Companies (FINTECHS) will develop a State Financial Inclusion Strategy.”

In addition, we commend the Kaduna State Government for allocating funds for women specific programs and interventions in the 2024 approved budget. In the spirit of the Day, we are using this opportunity to advocate for timely cash-backed releases and effective utilization of these funds to ensure they reach their intended beneficiaries and positively impact women across the state.

This is because the positive steps taken by the State government align with this year’s International Women’s Day, “Investing in Women, Accelerating Their Progress.” The theme underscores the crucial need to prioritize and support women’s socio-economic advancement globally. It emphasizes the significance of allocating resources, opportunities, and support systems to empower women in various spheres of life, including education, employment, leadership, and entrepreneurship. 

This also speaks to the OGP commitment on Strengthening Social Protection System with a milestone on Financial Inclusion of poor and vulnerable individuals in Kaduna State.

 This is to be delivered by the TWG, made up of government and civil society partners dedicated to implementing meaningful reforms across Safety Nets & Economic Inclusion, Inclusion, and Environment & Climate policy areas. 

The goal of the TWG commitment area is to champion reforms that contribute to ensuring a life of dignity for all residents of Kaduna State by reducing poverty levels, increasing access to social protection services, and improving living standards through co-implementation of 16 milestones. 

We believe that by prioritizing women’s financial inclusion and investing in social protection measures that ensure they remain above the minimum income floor, the Kaduna State Government can demonstrate its commitment to building robust and inclusive social protection systems and accelerating the progress of women in the state.

Sumayya Abdullahi Hussaini is Co-Chair, Technical Working Group on Strengthening Social Protection Systems, OGP Kaduna and can be reached via email: socialprotectiontwg.ogpkaduna@gmail.com

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