MANILA – Supporting women entrepreneurs through training and financial services will allow them to inject an additional USD280 billion in the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia between 2025 and 2030, according to the Women and E-commerce in Southeast Asia report of the International Finance Corp. (IFC).
The IFC report, which focuses on Indonesia and the Philippines, said women-owned businesses are dominating e-commerce.
Women sellers in the Philippines comprise two-thirds of the total sellers in online shopping platform Lazada, while they are only one-third of Lazada sellers in Indonesia.
“During the pandemic, more women-owned businesses in the Philippines started selling on the Lazada marketplace, increasing the share of women-owned businesses on the platform from 60 percent before the pandemic to 66 percent during the pandemic,” the IFC said in a statement Thursday.
However, the IFC report said women entrepreneurs in the region continue to face challenges, particularly in financial inclusion.
About 49 percent of women in Indonesia and 61 percent of women in the Philippine still do not own a bank account.
While women in Indonesia have better access to formal financial institutions, women entrepreneurs in the Philippines mostly rely on their savings and moneylenders to finance their start-up business.
“Further expanding financial services to women through agent banking, mobile banking, e-money, and fintech (financial technology) services that extend the reach of the financial system are important for providing women with greater access to the digital economy,” the IFC added.
Aside from financing, the report said additional training and supporting women to enter into higher value sectors will boost the success of their businesses on e-commerce.
“E-commerce in Southeast Asia is thriving. Since 2015, the market has tripled in size, and it is expected to triple again. In this research, IFC shows that this growth could be even higher if we invest in women entrepreneurs on e-commerce platforms” IFC vice president for Asia and the Pacific Alfonso Garcia Mora said. (PNA)