The African Development Bank (AfDB) has secured funding to support female entrepreneurs in Nigeria and other African countries. The development bank intends to disburse the capital for its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme.
Who is the funder? The Governing Committee of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) approved $61.8 million (about N22.248 billion) to support the growth of women in the entrepreneurship space.
About We-Fi: We-Fi is a collaborative partnership hosted by The World Bank Group. It was established in October 2017 and consists of 14 donor Governments, eight multilateral development banks, and other public and private sector stakeholders.
Why this matters: According to reports, the funding will enable 40,000 women-owned/led small and medium enterprises in 21 African countries to have access to finance. AFAWA will focus on low-income and fragile countries, where women entrepreneurs face greater challenges in accessing finance, markets, knowledge, and mentoring programmes.
AFAWA’s Goal: The fund will be used to support AFAWA‘s objectives which will address the $42 billion financing gap between women and male entrepreneurs.
- The first AFAWA pillar aims to increase access to finance for women through innovative and tailored financial instruments, including guarantee mechanisms to back up women entrepreneurs.
- In collaboration with strategic partners, the second pillar focuses on providing capacity-building services to women entrepreneurs, including access to mentoring and entrepreneurship training courses. AFAWA also helps financial institutions address the specific needs of women-owned/led businesses through tailored financial and non-financial products.
- The third pillar concentrates on improving the business environment for women by engaging in policy dialogue with central banks and other relevant authorities and stakeholders.
Speaking on the impact of the We-Fi fund, AfDB’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar said it will enable the programme to improve its activities and increase its achievement among female entrepreneurs.
“This substantial support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, We-Fi, will help us scale up our actions and achieve greater results for women entrepreneurs across the continent.”
Countries benefiting from fund: In a bid to bridge the financing gap facing women in Africa, AfDB will be utilising the fund in Nigeria, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.