Empowering people with financial knowledge

Bringing small business into the banking circle

In Africa, a woman selling vegetables from her roadside stand may see her business thrive — until she tries to qualify for credit or a loan. Overcoming gender bias is only part of the challenge. When they don’t know how to establish their creditworthiness, otherwise-successful women may be seen by some banks in the region as a lending risk, which can create an ongoing barrier to business growth.

Changing the circumstances for women means breaking the cycle of poverty. It’s a goal that inspires Sylvia Chahonyo, General Manager for Moody’s Investors Service in South Africa, who presented Moody’s research on potential solutions at the Women’s World Banking Summit in October 2017. Women’s World Banking is a global nonprofit that gives low-income women access to financial tools and resources for prosperity. Moody’s research highlights the benefits of enabling mobile and microfinance banking for more female business owners in East Africa’s economy.

“It’s about making sure the bankers that provide opportunities see women as viable customers,” she says. “In addition, we need to build women business owners’ confidence through education.”

Sylvia is among the Moody’s leaders exploring how we can further support financial inclusion for women who own small businesses, such as through training, curriculum and skill development. Because when a woman selling vegetables on the roadside is empowered to make more money, she can grow more than her business. She can invest in her home, her children’s health and education, and her community.