As efforts to drive Africa’s development intensify, the President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, has called for the need to lend to women and women-focused businesses. He also noted that this is the new focus for the bank. 

He made this disclosure at the just-concluded 2019 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. 

Speaking on the need to mobilize capital to actualize growth, he said, Africa today has in its pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance mutual funds $1.8 trillion of asset under management. Those sovereign wealth funds and pension funds are being invested outside of Africa in money market instruments that are generating negative real yield of returns.

So what we are working on at the AfDB is how do we get the pensions and sovereign wealth funds to invest in Africa. Africa Sovereign funds shouldn’t be invested in other sovereigns, it should be invested in Africa to create better wealth and better environment and quality of lives for our people. For me that is very important.”

[READ ALSO: Nigeria’s abysmal Pension System, where only 12% of workers have pension accounts]

Reeling past achievements, Adesina noted that the bank had provided the sum of $3 billion for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). Going further, he noted that the bank wanted to launch a Women Financing Index for Africa where financial institutions would be rated based on how well they lend to women. This initiative is based on the premise that women run African economies. 

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“I will like to see financial institutions in Africa being held fully accountable when it comes to financing women. The reason for that is very simple. For me, women-run African economies and I think we need to support them and help them get the financing that they need. 

I think when Africans get the issues of women right, we can get everything right. We provide funding through Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) that will help to mobilise funding for women in Africa, Adesina stated. 

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