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Women in Niger can't open a regular bank account. Because they don't bank through formal means, that also means women can't make the large financial decisions – like taking out a small business loan, or buying a house – that men can and that allow for independence. 


Cashless payment

With our traditional village savings-and-loan groups, women jointly save up and give loans to each other. It's a method that thousands of women in Africa and Asia have already used with great success. In Niger, we have now further developed the popular savings-and-loan groups by making them digital.
Josh Estey/CARE
Above © CARE. Header © Josh Estey/CARE

We have called the project "eArziki", which means "e-wealth" in Hausa, the country's majority language. While the savings-and-loan groups traditionally saved cash in a physical metal box, eArziki allows them to transfer money digitally via a specially-designed mobile app.

Using cashless transfers reduces the risk of theft and avoids the high fees of private-sector intermediaries. The women receive mobile phones and training in using the app so they can build financial security for themselves and their family.

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”"This makes it much easier for us to shop and borrow money."”

Digital history builds better credit

In addition to their ease and security, a digital solution helps women prove their creditworthiness. When they borrow and pay back money through eArziki, the app records the transactions, building a digital credit history that they can use to show that they are reliable borrowers, thus opening more financial doors for themselves.

20%
of Nigeriens have a formal bank account

The women who are part of eArziki have the opportunity to borrow money to start a business, pay for the children's schooling, buy new farming supplies and support themselves if catastrophe strikes. This means that women gain self-confidence and their own voice in society. In other words, the savings-loan groups are a crucial step on the road to a more equal society.

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