Melinda Gates tackle gender gap in Africa at G7 finance ministers meeting in France


U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and philanthropist Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, attend a meeting during the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Chantilly, near Paris, France, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Melinda Gates urged G7 finance ministers and central bank governors to empower millions of women in Africa by investing in digital financial systems as she joined their meeting in Chantilly, north of Paris, on Thursday (July 18).

The G7, presided by France this year, has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote inclusion of women in the digital financial sphere.

Le Maire has called on his G7 counterparts to contribute to the estimated $225 million required to fund initiatives to help improve digital financial access across Africa, especially among women.

The foundation announced a contribution of $73 million to the objective, while France has pledged $25 million for regulation, identification systems, payment infrastructure and research. The United Kingdom has also pledged $18.6 million to the effort.

France’s Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa joined the session on the second and last day of the ministers’ meeting.

Access to bank and mobile money accounts remains highly unequal in developing economies, and the gender gap is as high as 20 percentage points in countries like Nigeria, Benin and Mali, a G7 news release said.

The Group of Seven is comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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