As we celebrate women this week, the spotlight has once again shone on Rwanda with our country celebrated for its remarkable achievements in promoting gender equality. To put some of this into context referencing the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, Rwanda is ranked 9th worldwide and ranked 1st in Africa in progress made towards closing gender-based gaps and distance completed towards achieving gender parity. Much of this progress has been in Political Empowerment where Rwanda ranks 4th, higher than countries like Germany and Singapore. Rwanda also invests in enabling women to pursue career in Technology and STEM in general, by driving several initiatives such as the establishment of The African Campus of the Carnergie Mellon University, The African Institute of Mathematics; The Government also supports initiatives such as the Miss Geek Competition, aimed at inspiring more girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by devising solutions to challenges faced in their community and across Africa. However, there are still some of the areas needing improvement including Economic Participation and Opportunity, where Rwanda is ranked 79th. This contrasting performance speaks to the amount of work that lies ahead in the push to make substantial, specific progress towards women’s economic empowerment, mirroring similar achievements in governance, as we strive to close gender pay and wealth gaps. One readily available tool to help us tackle this is by increasing access to and use of quality financial products and services for women in the formal and informal sectors of the economy. According to the Rwanda Finscope 2020 Survey Report, although the gender gap in financial inclusion is closing (About 80% of Women adults belong to savings Group), there is still a clear gender gap in accessing and using formal financial services, where women are lagging with a 7% gap compared to male counterparts and are less likely to save money through formal financial service providers. Research has shown that there is a strong linkage between financial independence and access to financial service products that promote a saving culture. Such products conceivably enable women to better manage risks, to start or invest in a business, to fund expenditures such as higher education, home improvement and plan ahead for their retirement…etc. Studies have shown that millennial women have 1) More avenues to earn a steady income than prior generations, and 2) That women are better money-savers than men after adjusting for earnings. Further, according to a 2019 Economic Times survey, majority of women have also shown a preference for low to moderate risk investments and believe in ‘goal-based’ investing which is saving of income towards a certain goal such as children’s education, purchase of real estate etc. BK Capital’s Aguka Unit Trust Fund is one such financial services product that ticks all the boxes as an investment option for individual women and women’s groups looking to save in a low-risk product with a good return on investment and a simple entry and withdrawal process. Aguka Fund invests in high-quality short to medium-term debt securities, cash deposits and cash equivalents to earn income that is tax-exempt, and that can be distributed twice a year. Returns for the fund have been competitive at 10.5% on average since the fund’s launch last year, which allows the investor to earn a high rate of return without locking in their money for a long period of time. The fund also offers stability and security with the goal of never losing money so that the investment is protected. The product is suitable for women from all walks of life ranging from micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector to high-powered career women who are captains of industry - and is an important tool in enabling women achieve financial independence and supporting them in becoming financially secure for the long term. Please get in touch with us to find out how Aguka can work for you and your investment group! The writer is the Managing Director of BK Capital, A Licensed Investment Manager and Subsidiary of BK Group PLC.