Strengthening Access Bank’s W-Initiative


In partnership with Palladium, KIT Royal Tropical Institute is supporting Access Bank to become the bank of choice for women.

Understanding the women’s market in Ghana, Rwanda, Zambia & Nigeria

The W Initiative is Access Bank’s approach to segmenting and serving the women’s market and positioning itself as the bank of choice for women. Launched in 2014, it targets women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), young female professionals and mass affluent families (professionally qualified upper-middle-class to upper-class women, the high-end of the women’s market). KIT and Palladium offered Access Bank a holistic set of advisory services to strengthen its capacity to serve and grow these market segments.

KIT’s research focused on the demand for financial products and services amongst these target groups and their broader financial and non-financial needs. This insight is now feeding into an improved customer value proposition.

KIT supported Access Bank through the following activities:

  1. Market research: highlighting the financial and non-financial needs and challenges of the three target groups.
  2. Landscaping of non-financial services and digital financial services providers: prioritising potential strategic partners for Access Bank to increase outreach through non-financial services. These include information services, education, market and networking as well as through alternative (digital) delivery channels, such as the development of a digital platform for savings groups.
  3. Feasibility study for a W-Initiative incubator: to accelerate growth and success of women-owned MSMEs.
  4. W-Data Framework: to analyse financial performance and impact data of the women’s portfolio ‘at the click of a button’.
  5. Gender sensitivity training: to strengthen gender sensitivity and awareness of Access Bank’s key frontline staff to help them better serve the women segments.

Our project partner—Palladium—supported Access Bank through the following activities:

  1. MSME banking diagnostics, which assesses the bank’s capacity—in terms of internal systems and processes in place—to serve women-owned MSMEs.
  2. Credit scorecard or algorithm to increase the efficiency of loan approval processes and reduce credit risk.


KIT and Palladium delivered all the activities mentioned above, except for the gender-sensitivity trainings which will be delivered in 2020. On the 5th of December 2019, KIT and Palladium held a strategy workshop with the management teams of all four subsidiaries in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia as well as the Group Office. The aim was to make sure that gender is embedded in the overall strategy of Access Bank, based on the key findings and recommendations of the different project activities.