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How can digital technology help women's financial independence in africa?

May 18, 2017

On the occasion of the last evening of the Club of Positive Innovation organized by SparkNews

A number of working round tables were on the theme of positive innovation. Representatives of the following companies were present:
Accor, Danone, La Poste, SUEZ, Armor, AXA, BNP, CETELEM, PMU, Caisse des depots et consignments, MAIF, Schneider Electric, L'Oréal, LVMH, Pernod Ricard, Total, SKF, Groupe Musketeers, Air Liquide, Orange, ADP, Sanofi-Aventis Group, Club Med, Société Générale et ADEME.

Issues discussed at the round tables:

The Innovation Club evenings are organised around several project leaders who pitch for three minutes each on a work issue linked to a business challenge.The aim is therefore for the project leader to test a business idea linked to his or her social innovation, to collect information in order to verify the relevance of the existing model or the one under development, to create partnerships in a "win-win" spirit, and of course to extend his or her network.Isabelle Mashola (President of isahit) and Ludovic Centonze (CSR Director Orange) led a round table discussion on the theme:

How can digital support women's financial independence in Africa? The proposed problem was:
2 billion people live below the poverty line (less than $2/day) of which 70% are women.

  • How can the digital divide be prevented from accentuating this gap?
  • How the digital could make women more autonomous and Independent Financially in Africa?

Some avenues of reflection on the given problem:

  • Isahit is an innovative solution and platform that gives digital work to women, which brings them up in competence by educating them in the world of tomorrow which is digital.
  • Orange supports or initiates development initiatives in Africa for women, giving them the means to train and connect to the world of tomorrow by working with young women entrepreneurs or through devices deployed by the foundation Orange specifically dedicated to this purpose.

The exchanges and debates led to the following main ideas:

  • The African woman often accumulates several activities and therefore the digital micro-tasking may be a relevant offer as an "income supplement" activity.
  • Digital allows women to be trained remotely, to accompany them in their development.
  • Thanks to digital, there are a number of ways to train them: distance learning via Skype, helping to increase competence through artificial intelligence (bots), helping different people through online communities.
  • In Africa, collaboration and sharing are part of the culture, which facilitates mutual assistance between the different people involved.
  • Existing innovation hubs in each country (incubators, fablabs) help to find women workers with varied profiles, as well as to accompany them in the transition to formal working life.
  • Women are responsible for managing the family budget, making them the beneficiaries of choice to impact as many people as possible. Often, an increase in income is used to repay a debt, invest in a new activity or help the family.
  • Africa is the first continent of female entrepreneurship: one in four women is creating a business there. In sub-Saharan Africa, women account for even 27% of entrepreneurs. This is the highest rate on a global scale.
  • The numerical inequality between men and women in Africa is more a result of a lack of means/education for women than of male oppression. We need to focus on solutions that combine training and income.

Isahit is committed to this mission!

Since its launch nine months ago, Isahit is engaged through its Isahit help program to support and assist hiteuses by providing access to the Internet (via access to local incubators), lending them a tablet if needed, helping them to Banca and supporting them in their efforts to obtain self-employed status. Isahit help also allows them to train and develop in digital competence with the help of Isahit representatives in local hubs.

To date, a hundred "workers/hiteuses" have been working on the Isahit platform since 5 countries in Francophone Africa (Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Côte d'ivoire, Congo) and soon a dozen other countries will be opened. Isahit's ambition is within 4 to 5 years to give work to more than 30 000 people and thus to have an impact on more than 100 000 people.

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