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Financial Inclusion

To promote financial inclusion, KIT Institute supports development finance institutions, commercial banks, funds, and impact investors in the public and private sector to shape their offerings and value proposition for marginalised market segments (e.g. women, youth, entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers). 

Our vision for financial inclusion

Financial inclusion is a key enabler in development. It supports people’s economic empowerment and helps them to better manage their business and their lives.

It is more than just access to finance. Every financial product lives in an ecosystem where inequalities influence whether different groups of people – including women – can benefit from it. People may end up with very different opportunities, even if they have the same access to finance.

Our approach to financial inclusion seeks to transform these underlying inequalities. We aim to generate both sustainable impact in the lives of people and in the financial performance of the service provider. To do so, we place equal emphasis on grounding our clients’ financial services and investments in a sound business case with an in-depth understanding of the specific needs and preferences of different customer segments. Our customer-centric approach allows us to find solutions that address these specific needs and preferences through financial, non-financial and digital services.

You can learn more by exploring our individual projects listed below. Or contact us.

Contact us

Do you have a question or want to know more? Contact us by sending an e-mail.

Our projects

  • Demand-side research on migrant remittances

    • Institute
    • Project

    In 2020, an estimated 3.6 percent (281 million people) of the global population were migrants. The officially recorded flow of remittances from migrants to low­- and middle-income countries reached USD 540 billion in 2020. Remittances represent a large component of GDP for many receiving countries and are a major supporting income stream for many households.  […]

  • Applying a Gender Lens to Cocoa Cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire

    • Institute
    • Project

    Women living in cocoa growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire are disproportionately excluded from participating in cooperatives or benefiting from them. To address this gender inequality, a gender lens was applied to Rabo Partnership and Barry Callebaut’s ‘Empowering the Middle Program’. Specific entry points and activities were designed to promote women’s inclusion and elevate their status […]

  • Studying the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Livelihoods of Smallholder Farmers in Africa

    • Institute
    • Project

    AATIF provides technical assistance to smallholder farmers in strategic value chains in which their investees and pipeline companies operate. KIT was asked to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic affected vulnerable groups in eight value chains across Ivory Coast (cocoa, cashew), Kenya (dairy) and Zambia (maize, wheat, cotton, soybean, sunflower).   Obtaining an early overview of the effects of the pandemic on smallholder farmers and their incomes will […]

  • Gender Integration with Climate Fund Managers

    • Institute
    • Project

    KIT Royal Tropical Institute supported Climate Fund Managers (CFM) to integrate gender into their investment process. KIT conducted desk-based gender assessments of the renewable energy sector in 14 countries across African and Asia. Guided by this assessment, KIT worked with CFM to develop a gender integration action plan for CFM’s Climate Investor One financing facility. […]

  • The Power of Partnerships Event

    • Institute
    • Project

    On 12 March 2018, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, FMO, Better Future and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted an event on how we can make finance work for women entrepreneurs. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands offered the keynote speech at the event. “Around 80 percent of formal, women-owned MSMEs do not have […]

  • Better Serving Women, Youth and Migrant Entrepreneurs with the NASIRA Programme

    • Institute
    • Project

    KIT Royal Tropical Institute – in consortium with Access Alliance – is a shortlisted service provider under a four year agreement to support FMO’s financial institution clients, participating in the NASIRA Programme, to (better) serve women, young- and migrant entrepreneurs. What is NASIRA? In December 2018, FMO and the European Commission signed an agreement for […]


  • Gender Lens Impact Investing: Catalyst for Change in Commodity Value Chains

    • Institute
    • Publication

    Gender lens investing has gained great momentum during the last few years. As a result, there are multiple gender lens impact investing initiatives, funds and tools available for different stakeholders in the (impact) investment world. This paper shows how the field of gender lens investing is emerging and how that is relevant for the work […]

  • Alternative finance in commodity chains

    • Institute
    • Publication

    Working Paper Alternative Finance How small entrepreneurs and farmers can benefit from novel ways of financing. Access to affordable and reliable financing in agrifood commodity chains is of key importance for all actors along the chain, to use as working capital, and to invest in capital assets. There are a wide range of financing instruments […]

  • OeEB Gender Action Plan

    • Institute
    • Publication

    Beginning in 2019, KIT worked with the Austrian Development Bank to develop a 5-year Gender Action Plan to highlight key steps and targets for integrating gender into the bank’s investment processes, for different sectors and portfolios. OeEB is committed to contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender Equality and the empowerment […]

  • Beyond Access: Exploring gender-transformative approaches to financial inclusion

    • Institute
    • Publication

    A range of current policies and programs target greater inclusion of the poor and marginalized–including women–in financial systems and services. Debate and effort have largely focused on widening access to products and services for these groups. But little is known about whether and how such efforts may be benefiting women, and whether improving access alone […]

  • Why a segmentation strategy matters for serving the women’s market

    • Institute
    • Publication

    Insights from Access Bank market research Financial Service Providers are increasingly realising that needs and preferences differ across the female economy. Differences vary depending on women’s age, class, ethnicity, marital status, religion, wealth, stage of business, profession, location and other socially defined characteristics and markers. These factors all influence and impact the way different women […]

Gender, youth and rural finance

By offering critical insight into the needs and context of these unique customer segments, KIT enables organisations of all sizes to build their business case and required competencies to offer products and services that help these actors to reach their goals.

Gender Finance

KIT promotes the financial inclusion of women through a three pronged approach.

  • We help financial institutions to incorporate a gender lens into their environmental and social safeguarding processes.
  • We leverage data to prove the business case for financial inclusion.
  • And we develop gender strategies to raise the impact on women’s livelihoods.

KIT’s rooted expertise in women’s markets catalyzes a greater understanding of gendered risks by sector and region. It reveals women’s needs and wants and supports the design of gender-smart products and women-oriented value propositions. It also enables gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

KIT applies a well-grounded approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment. We have a long track record of assisting governmental and non-governmental agencies, financial institutions and organisations. This work focuses on integrating gender equality concerns into their policies, organisational structures, systems and practices as well as sector strategies and programmes. We work on both stand-alone women’s rights and empowerment initiatives as well as gender and rights issues within programs related to health, food security, energy, finance and broader inclusion in agribusiness value chains.

Youth Finance

KIT promotes the financial inclusion of youth in agricultural value chains by developing and implementing youth programmes and business models that improve access to finance among youth-led Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). KIT is also involved in projects that support youth development in a holistic manner, complementing the financial component with training in entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and mentorship opportunities.

Rural Finance

KIT promotes the financial inclusion of rural stakeholders. This builds our deep track record in the fields of agribusiness development, value chain finance, and understanding the needs of smallholder farmers and Micro, Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises.

A diversity of financial products and related non-financial services are being developed, experimented with, and rolled out by donors, financial institutions and investors, and KIT has been active in assessments of impact and learning processes for a wide variety of clients. Guarantee and insurance schemes, credit facilities for crop-specific loan products and business development services have benefited smallholders and youth and women in particular.


FinEquity is the annual gathering of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and donors to discuss the latest developments in Women’s Financial Inclusion. In September 2021, FinEquity hosted two webinars featuring Financial Service Providers who are using innovative ways to learn and respond to women’s needs and preferences to grow their market share and achieve business goals. 

In a webinar on the segmentation of women clients, KIT’s senior financial inclusion advisor, Fiona Jarden, held a conversation with Access Bank Nigeria to discuss why they choose to focus on the women’s market and how they developed and rolled out the “W” initiative in their quest for becoming the bank of choice for women in the markets they serve.

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