LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 AFRICA, TANZANIA: A further nine operators have been added to the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative, which focuses on reducing the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services.
Orange Mali, Smart Burundi, Smart Tanzania, Smart Uganda, Tigo Chad, Tigo Ghana, Tigo Senegal, Tigo Tanzania and Zantel are the latest GSMA operator members to commit to connect millions of women in low and middle-income countries by 2020.
This builds on the launch of the initiative back in February, when operator members like Dialog Axiata in Sri Lanka and Digi Telecommunications in Malaysia joined the programme.
Before the launch, the GSMA was already working on projects that see 15 million women benefiting from female-focused services offered by Connected Women operator partners.
Operators now want to increase the proportion of their female customers, supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
They want to increase the number of female agents, improve the data top-up process to be safer and more appealing to women and improve their digital literacy.
GSMA research estimates there are 200 million fewer women than men who own a mobile phone in low and middle-income countries, missing out on key socio-economic opportunities.
“Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is essential, because when women thrive, societies and economies thrive,” said Mats Granryd, director general, GSMA.
What’s more, the GSMA claims that closing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage in the developing world could unlock an estimated $170 billion market opportunity for the industry in the period 2015-2020.