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Provincial women finish financial literacy training

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Financial inclusion remains a source of social and economic inequity in Cambodia, for women in particular. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Provincial women finish financial literacy training

Nearly 10,000 women entrepreneurs and students from four provinces in Cambodia have completed training in financial literacy and economic empowerment in a project jointly organised by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and Visa Inc.

The Chhunhak, head of the ministry’s General Directorate of Gender Equality and Economic Development, said in a press release on March 8 that through the Financial Literacy Project for Women and Women Entrepreneurs, participants – who hailed from provinces including Siem Reap, Kratie, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear – will be able to use the skills gained to “emerge from the micro and informal economy” and create more lucrative careers for themselves.

Chhunhak celebrated the achievements of the attendees, saying: “We hope they can share their new knowledge and success with other women, spreading financial literacy and inclusion for the benefit of all of Cambodia.”

Financial inclusion remains a source of social and economic inequity in Cambodia, for women in particular. Though the gap on accessing financial services may have been closed, gender inequity is still glaringly present when it comes to successfully applying for loans. Compared to men, women also have smaller amounts of savings and fewer opportunities to access large loans.

Access to financial and digital skills training “continue to be a challenge for women”, said Chhunhak. These issues are especially apparent in rural areas, where women often lack adequate financial literacy skills, as well as financial autonomy and a say in family finances, he added – all of which impede their path to financial independence and entrepreneurial growth.

NBC director-general for Banking Supervision Rath Sovannorak said the central bank had identified financial literacy as a “key pillar” in promoting a digital economy, which is seen as a pathway to independence, and extending access to finance and entrepreneurship to women.

“We are excited to continue collaborating with Visa to promote financial inclusion in Cambodia,” he said.

Amongst the project’s offerings were presentations by experts from NBC, the ministry, and various private sector partners, as well as talks by women entrepreneurs who shared their experiences in the financial world.

Sovannorak said he believed that the sessions provided participants with the core competencies required to navigate today’s changing economic and digital environment. He added that the project “promoted the importance of family financial well-being, and endeavoured to ignite participants’ spirit for entrepreneurship and innovation”.

Visa country manager for Cambodia Monika Chum said: “Economies include and uplift everyone, everywhere, so we are excited to be playing a role in promoting social equity in the country.

“We hope the programme participants can use their new financial literacy skills to enhance their own lives and those of their family and community.”

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