Some African women entrepreneurs have just received a huge boost of $251 million support from the G7 Leaders through the initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA)
The AFAWA is an initiative which is geared towards improving women’s access to financing through funds disbursement, training and mentorship.
French President, who is also the President of the G7, Emmanuel Macron looked forward to the utilisation of the funds in the development of Africa.
“I am particularly proud, as the current G7 president, that the programme we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organisation, the African Development Bank, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron stated at the G7 Summit.
Further details: Angelique Kidjo, the programme ambassador and the President of AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina expressed their joy to be associated with the initiative.
“African women are the backbone of the continent. I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent,” the Beninoise artist and UNICEF ambassador, Angelique Kidjo said at the event.
The AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina applauded the extraordinary support of all the G7 Heads of State and government to African women, which he said would close the finance gap between male and female entrepreneurs.
“This is a great day for African women. Investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is important, because women are not only Africa’s future. They are Africa’s present. Currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. This gap must be closed, and quickly.”
Adesina also explained that AFAWA’s decision to secure a $5 billion raise for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank to provide $1 billion financing would be the most significant in the history of the continent.
What you should know: AFAWA is an initiative fronted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide women more chances in businesses and address the $42 billion financing gap facing women in Africa.
The AFAWA initiative, backed by the G7 nations, is based on three major principles.
- The first is to broaden women’s access to financing through innovative and adaptive financial instruments, including guarantee mechanisms to support women entrepreneurs.
- The second principle is to provide capacity-building services to women entrepreneurs, including access to mentoring and training courses in entrepreneurship. AFAWA also assists financial institutions in responding to specific needs of women-led businesses through specially adapted financial and non-financial products.
- The third principle is improving the legal and regulatory environment and removing any obstacles that specifically affect women by engaging in policy dialogue with governments, central banks, and other institutions.
[READ MORE: AfDB secures $61.8m to support female entrepreneurs]
About the G7
The G7, or ‘Group of Seven’, meets each year, bringing together the Heads of State and Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the Presidents of the European Commission and European Council.
In 1997, the group included Russia, becoming the G8, but after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the member states of the G7 and the European Union suspended Russia from the group.
France holds the presidency of the G7 in 2019, and President Emmanuel Macron is championing gender equality as a major theme of his five-year term.