The majority of the Egyptian garment industry’s 1.5 million workers, 50% of whom are female, are unbanked, and are paid in cash. Converting cash wages to digital wages can close the financial inclusion gap for low-income male and female workers in Egypt. Digital wages can provide workers with their first formal account and provide access to financial services like remittances, savings or insurance. Employers can increase payroll efficiency, and minimize payday productivity losses, ensuring sustainability of digitization.
Mastercard, Levi Strauss & Co and BSR’s HERproject have partnered since 2019 to pilot gender responsive wage digitization among workers at Lotus Garments Group, a clothing manufacturer in Egypt. This report shares the impact of wage digitization for women and business. The pilot supported over 8,700 workers to be paid digitally, increasing payroll efficiency and reducing production time losses on payday. Workers, many of whom had previously been unbanked, started using a range of financial products and services, including savings, and mobile financial services. Female workers reported an improved financial resilience which helped them during the COVID-19 pandemic.