Analyze aspects of how banking can support inclusive and sustainable business development for women in the region


Tegucigalpa, February 15th, 2023.- The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and UN Women today inaugurated the forum "Dialogue on how banking can support inclusive and sustainable business development for women in the region.

On this occasion, the launch of the Inclusive Financial Ecosystems (EFI) program, financed by the Duchy of Luxembourg, was also held, as an example of an innovative initiative that consolidates the financial inclusion strategy that seeks to eliminate barriers faced by women in accessing and using financial products and services.

The EFI program seeks to generate substantial changes in the financial system in order to impact discriminatory social norms and practices that perpetuate the gender gap in access to and use of financial services. With the objective of deepening the achievements that have been made in the Central American region, given the need to introduce innovations in the financial ecosystem to ensure the financial inclusion of women.

"CABEI will continue to reaffirm its commitment to fostering alliances that focus efforts in a coordinated manner to close the gender gap in our region, with a priority focus on women's economic autonomy," said CABEI Executive President Dr. Dante Mossi.

María Noel Vaeza, UN Women regional director for the Americas and the Caribbean, mentioned "The financial ecosystem has an important capacity to generate transformative changes through instruments that cater to women who are unbanked and/or underserved by their financial institutions, creating new non-exclusionary dynamics in financial markets."

The Forum provided an opportunity to generate dialogue and disseminate recommendations on financial inclusion in the region. Innovative initiatives with a gender approach to improve the financial health of women in the region were also presented.  The event was attended by agents of the financial system, financial institutions in the region, businesswomen or entrepreneurs, women leaders in the economic sphere, companies that promote gender equality, companies with products/services that improve the wellbeing of women and girls, and actors in sustainable entrepreneurship.

It is worth mentioning that UN Women, through the Women, Local Economy and Territories (MELYT) program, financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), contributed US$1.0 million to the CABEI Guarantee Fund.

The Guarantee Fund was created by CABEI in 2020 as a complementary financial instrument to hedge credit risk for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). 

To date, the Fund has issued US$4.8 million exclusively to guarantee loans to women, thus promoting their access to banking, recognizing the importance of supporting businesswomen and women entrepreneurs.