‘Throwback: CSRFiles- Inclusive Africa

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A Financial system that must be efficient and function satisfactorily must be an inclusive financial system. A financial system is said to be inclusive when it provides growth opportunities for more individuals and entrepreneurs.

According to African Development Bank (AfDB), Financial Inclusion refers to all initiatives that make formal financial services available, accessible and affordable to all segments of the population. It goes beyond delivery of products or services at affordable costs to low income segments of the society, it is fully achieved when adults have access to wide range of products designed according to their various needs and provided at affordable costs.

During the past few decades, the primary drivers of business value have shifted significantly. Formerly, capital market performance most closely tracked an organization’s tangible assets, but today’s markets are more strongly correlated with intangible assets in the form of goodwill or brand equity, which can include research and development, brand, reputation, management of external social and environmental factors, as well as social license to operate.

In talking about financial inclusion, a major topic is the Women economic inclusion. In 2006, economists announced that economies that allowed women participation in the workforce have had the most impactful economic growth in the last decade, more than technology or even China and India entering the International trade have seen. Women economic inclusion – especially through entrepreneurship – has the ability to unleash irreversible human capacity, as women discover their own abilities to help themselves; build their own confidence which is the best guarantee for social inclusion; create, innovate and compete in the market and actively contribute to gender equality in the market place. Most importantly, a woman can contribute to the national economy, as she creates an income for herself, improve her purchasing power, creates jobs, take loans and invest in her business or community.

Going forward, a major way of promoting and encouraging savings and investment in accessible and affordable manner is through the adoption of Islamic finance. Islamic finance is an alternative form of finance which is based on the principles of Islamic injunctions. It could be a veritable avenue for the actualization of the broader goal of national economic development which can lead to the stability of the financial environment. The concept of Islamic finance encourages financial inclusion and sustainable development fundamentals and also a financial system that is just and accountable.

According to Edelman Trust Barometer, the financial services sector holds a bottom place as the least trustworthy sector. How has an industry, once portrayed by the term “My word is my bond” fallen to such a low that it is regularly compared to common gangsters?

Source: CSRFiles Journal Volume 4 Issue 1, 2014

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