Planned to be implemented from March 2019 to March 2021, the technical cooperation project aims at improving VWU’s capacity in promoting development and delivery of financial and non-financial services responding to the needs of local women.

The two parties will work side by side to provide training to financial service providers (microfinance organizations and institutes, commercial banks…) on the basis of gender-responsive financial inclusion and good practices from other countries.

At the same time, it will support some selected financial service providers to develop new products which respond to the diversified needs at women’s different stages of life. Lessons learnt and hands-on experiences will be shared with Vietnamese policy makers as references for advocacy in financial inclusion promotion.

Mr. KONAKA Tetsuo, Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, 12th PCC member, President of the VWU at the signing ceremony. (Photo: Quynh Anh/JICA)

According to Global Findex database 2017, only 31% of Vietnamese adults have bank accounts, 14% have savings deposits at financial institutions and 21% borrowed money from formal financial institutions.

There are a number of financial institutions including state-owned banks, microfinance institutions and organizations, programs that deliver microfinance services to the poor and low-income segment of the population.

Although the majority of customers of microfinance services are women, varieties of financial products available to them are quite limited. International experiences have shown that women’s financial inclusion generates multiple benefits for society in addition to improvement in well-being of women themselves.

Financial inclusion of women requires the development of services which cater to the different needs of women at different stages of their life, and delivery methods of those products in an accessible and affordable manner for women. In addition, to encourage financial service providers to offer women-friendly products, an enabling policy environment is necessary, and thus gender-responsiveness needs to be integrated into the national financial inclusion policy.

To address these issues, in 2016, the Vietnamese Government requested the Government of Japan for technical cooperation to promote gender responsive financial inclusion.

For JICA, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women is crucial to achieve the “inclusive development” goal that JICA aims for. In many countries, JICA extends cooperation to create policies and systems that promote gender equality, to boost empowerment of women through activities including maternal and child health promotion, education for women, support to female entrepreneurs, capacity building to cope with violence against women, and support for security, and training for victims of human trafficking./.