Financial Service Providers (FSPs) in emerging markets are increasingly recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach to expanding access to finance does not meet the needs of many small businesses, notably women-led small businesses. But what specific steps are necessary to design financial products and services that meet the needs of different underserved groups, and how do these needs vary by different business types?

A new study by Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSD Kenya) and Dalberg sheds light on this question through a deep dive on one such underserved segment: female retail traders in Kenya. Despite some advances in recent years, large gaps remain in the use and relevance of financial services for this group, and to date there has been no single study which provides a complete picture of their specific financial needs and the barriers they face trying to access the finance they need to survive and grow their businesses.

This study provides a detailed overview of the specific needs of female retail traders in Kenya as well as recommendations for both FSPs and policymakers that can drive greater financial inclusion for this often-overlooked group.

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