Assessment of financial inclusion and women economic empowerment in rural areas of Uganda
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The aim of the study was to assess the effect of financial inclusion on women economic empowerment in rural areas of Uganda by examining the extent to which women in rural areas access and Use financial services, exploring the challenges encountered by women’s access and use of financial services in rural area and suggesting possible solutions to challenges in women’s access and use of finances in rural areas. The study was a cross-sectional and descriptive study carried out in Kamukuzi Division, in Mbarara Municipality where a sample size of 80 respondents was drawn from a population of 100 rural women using Snowball method, Purposive sampling and Simple random sampling. Data was collected from the primary sources which comprised of the questionnaires administered to the respondents. The data was analysed using descriptive analysis using means and standard deviations to assess the effect of financial inclusion on women economic empowerment in rural areas of Uganda. The findings of the study established that women can easily get financial services from Microfinance institutions specially credit or savings facilities from SACCOs and banks. They also use mobile Money to send, save and borrow money and use digital financial services through mobile phones to access financial services through Centemobile, Mobile Wallet, and Pride Wallet among others. However, rural women are not given low interest loans by finance institutions. The challenges encountered by women’s access and use of financial services in Kamukuzi Division are lack of collateral, lack of financial products that meet women’s needs, low literacy rates which discourages rural women from accessing and using financial services because they can’t read and write and banks that fear do not extend credit to rural women because of the small size of their businesses. It is also recommended that there is need for financial institutions to Design products targeting women, provision of financial training, Review of regulations, Conducting market research and Sensitization of rural women on the financial services available in financial institutions.