PHNOM PENH: Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, recently implemented several successful initiatives that demonstrate its commitment to support the government’s mission to elevate financial literacy and inclusion among women and young people across the country.
According to a press release issued by Visa on Wednesday, 8 March 2023, the company partnered with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) to deliver the ‘Promoting Financial Literacy for Women and Women Entrepreneurs’ program, a two-year program aimed at economic empowerment of rural young women, entrepreneurs, and students.
The initiative was launched in 2020, with the second phase – titled ‘Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Areas through Promoting Financial and Digital Literacy’ – recently held and concluded in 2022, helping to further promote financial well-being and economic empowerment among Cambodian women.
The program featured trainings, forums, and workshops on essential digital and financial literacy skills and interactive tools, led by staff from MoWA, Line Ministries and Provincial Departments. These sessions were held in coordination with the Women Development Centers of the four provinces of Siem Reap, Kratie, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear. All in all, the activities gathered 425 participants, including 355 women.
“We believe that the women of Cambodia can and should be able to demonstrate their business acumen, as well as achieve financial independence,” said The Chhunhak, the Director General of Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Development from MoWA. “The trainings and forums of the program have hopefully helped them and serve as a solid step towards true financial inclusion in Cambodia.”
“With Cambodia moving fast towards a digital economy, digital and financial literacy will enable our people, especially women, to confidently manage finances with enhanced knowledge, improved skills, and beneficial tools,” added Rath Sovannorak, the Assistant Governor and Director General of Banking Supervision from NBC.
Visa Inc. states that its corporate foundation, Visa Foundation, also prioritizes providing access to capital for women-led small and micro businesses (SMBs). Visa Foundation supported The Asia Foundation’s ‘Accelerate Women's Entrepreneurship and Access to Capital’ project as part of its Equitable Access Initiative, a US $200 million strategic commitment announced in April 2020 to address longer-term needs of SMBs, while fostering women’s economic advancement.
“The Asia Foundation’s programs on inclusive economic growth, such as this one supported by Visa Foundation, aim to create a more supportive business environment for women entrepreneurs, equipping them with the necessary tools for success where they are not only jobseekers, but job-creators,” said The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Cambodia, Meloney C. Lindberg.
The press release further outlines that financial education is also the focus of Visa’s partnership with the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC), with one of the key aims being to raise awareness among young adults and Cambodian students. As part of the partnership, Visa and ABC worked together to implement various activities, including the development of a comic book on financial literacy, a series of talks to university students studying banking, finance, and other related field, and a financial education video competition.
“Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy are the key agendas for our sector,” said Raymond Sia, the Chairman of the Association of Banks in Cambodia. “This program in collaboration with Visa is a great contribution to our joint efforts to enhance the skills and knowledge of the young people on financial well-being and money management.”
These programs and the partnerships behind them can be seen as continuations of two important Visa initiatives on personal and business finance management: ‘Practical Money Skills’ and ‘Practical Business Skills’, focused on financial literacy and skills-training for SMBs. The two programs have gained recognition from the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham).
“We are honored to cooperate with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the National Bank of Cambodia, and the Association of Banks in Cambodia in these meaningful programs, which are very much aligned with the country’s national strategy for financial inclusion,” said Visa’s Country Manager for Cambodia, Ivana Tranchini. “We hope that we’ve played a small but valuable part in enhancing participants’ lives as well as their communities, and support the move to narrow the gender gap in terms of financial inclusion.”