Mara Muhtaram Account

Co-operative Bank launches innovative women’s account to ease access to financial services

R – L: Co-operative Bank Group Chair, John Murugu, GESS Team Leader, Akuja de Garang, Co-operative Bank Group Finance Director, Carol Karimi, National Minister for Agriculture & Food Security, Josephine Lagu – Publication date (8/Mar/2024)

The Co-operative Bank Group has launched the first of its kind women account known as Mara Muhtaram Women’s Account to ease access to financial services for women entrepreneurs and groups as the country celebrated International Women’s Day.

John Murugu, the chairman of Cooperative Bank Group said they are celebrating the day in recognition of great contribution made by women across the globe, adding that co-operative Bank is working to support women in business.

“As Co-operative Bank, we are rolling out a product with special features to support and empower women come to bank, encourage them to open this special account and it will become a bridge through which they will be able to access financial services including affordable loans,” Murugu said.

“We are looking up to support our women entrepreneurs who are doing small, medium and large-scale businesses in South Sudan and we are focusing on gender responsive financing,” said the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Elijah Wamalwa during the launch. He also noted that women have been very successful in working together in groups and that the Bank will capitalize on this strength to provide innovative financial solutions that will guarantee financial inclusion for women.

Additionally, Mr Wamalwa stated that Co-op Bank wants to empower women so that 50 percent of the accounts in the Bank will be operated by women. This he believes will bring about financial inclusion to the women of South Sudan.

Akuja de Garang, the Team Lead for Girl Education South Sudan (GESS) said financial inclusion plays important role in the life of women, adding that access to finance plays a significant role in reducing poverty.

“When women have access to finance, it will enable them to save, invest and access credit which they can use to start their business and that will improve their Livelihoods not only for their families but also their communities and the country as a whole,” said de Garang

Hon. Josephine Lagu, the National Minister of Agriculture and Food Security said the Revitalized Peace Agreement including the 35 percent affirmative action, has created an enabling environment in promoting participation by women in both public and private arena.

The Minister retaliated that through her mother ministry for Co-operatives and Rural Development, they have a mandate to foster inclusion and sustainable development through the Co-operatives Model.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Jemma Nunu Kumba, the Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly said main challenge that women face is lack of access to finance for business startup, adding that a solution such as Mara Muhtaram Women Account will enable women to be more independent. She also urged the women who take up the banking products to always adhere to the terms such as timely loan repayments for good credit history which is key for future lending and business growth.

The women international day was celebrated under the theme “Inspire Inclusion” and “Co-op Women Inspire” at Beijing Juba Hotel.

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Co-operative Bank is Regulated by the Bank of South Sudan.

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