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The former Nigerian foreign and finance minister suggested that the G20 investigate blockchain technologies to reduce the gender gap.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Trade Organization’s director general and former Nigerian foreign and finance minister, stated that blockchain technology may help empower unbanked and underbanked women throughout the world.
Today, I addressed the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, asking regulators and politicians how blockchain technology might assist promote financial inclusion for women in the aftermath of COVID-19 and beyond. Okonjo-Iweala, a co-chair on the panel, was the only one to talk on women in blockchain among numerous participants, including representatives from the United States and Singapore.
“Of course blockchain is something that brings more transparency in the way that business is done and removes intermediaries,” said the WTO director-general. “I think that particularly in the finance area the ability to introduce this into transactions, I think could be particularly beneficial to women who are often excluded from access to finance. I think this is a good thing, something we should look into.”
Women have traditionally had greater difficulty obtaining financial services than males in many nations, a condition that may have been worsened by the epidemic, which caused many institutions to close. Many experts have proposed using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to promote financial inclusion in areas that lack the same infrastructure as developed countries, particularly in areas where women may face long travel times to access credit providers, restrictions on opening bank accounts, and, in some cases, are not even allowed to legally own property.
Women are still underrepresented in the blockchain and crypto industries, according to a World Economic Forum research issued in April. The World Trade Organization has previously said that economic empowerment for women is part of its mission for creating wealth and decreasing poverty, with the organisation proposing digital solutions:
“E-commerce conducted through online platforms can be an easy and inexpensive way for women to trade globally, to enter new foreign markets, to expand their businesses and to harness their entrepreneurship.”
Crypto and blockchain could be a likely extension of this view, using digital currencies as a method of payment and blockchain for banking and more. However, it’s unclear how individual economies will respond as some developed countries reopen amid high vaccination rates while others remain partially or fully closed.