Catalyzing Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment in Kosovo

Around the world, women are less likely than men to be reached by financial services. While, more than half a billion adults have gained financial access since 2014, the gender gap in financial inclusion remains unchanged at 9 percent, according to the World Bank’s 2017 Global Findex. In some countries, like Kosovo, that gap is much wider.

Through dedicated products and programs, FINCA Kosovo is working to bring more women into the financial fold. One such product is the Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness. The product targets owners of small and medium enterprises to help them grow their businesses and become more profitable. Included with the loan is financial literacy and business training.

Xheva Haziri, a commercial farmer from Shtime in southern Kosovo, is among the more than 2,700 women who are already benefitting from this loan product. Xheva had always dreamed of running her own flourishing agribusiness and today, at 53, she is living that dream. Her vegetable processing and preservation business is thriving and has become a major supplier to grocery stores and markets in her region.

Xheva opened the business in 2013, progressively growing it through the entrepreneurial loan product. She started off with strawberries, but now cultivates other fruits and vegetables popular in the region as well. She has also been able to expand her land, and she plans to build a warehouse. During the summer, Xheva employs seasonal workers, making her an important contributor to the local economy. She has high ambitions for her business.

With the business growing and doing well, I have decided that I will begin exporting my fruits, vegetables and processed goods to the overseas market.

Early this year and in honor of International Women’s Day, FINCA Kosovo launched FemEdu, a training program intended to further empower women entrepreneurs like Xheva. FemEdu targets FINCA clients and non-clients alike with training in a range of skills, including business strategy, marketing, finance, accounting and communication. FINCA Kosovo offers the training in partnership with the Women’s Economic Chamber of Kosovo G7, an organization founded by women to advance women’s participation in the economy.

The Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness and the training programs like FemEdu demonstrate FINCA Kosovo’s commitment to improve women’s financial inclusion and empower them with the resources they need to succeed in business.