Against the backdrop of the International Women’s Day celebration, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is set to unlock up to $3 billion for women entrepreneurs in Africa.
The bank aims to achieve this through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa (AFAWA).
Spurred by the need to reduce the arduous process of accessing loans, AFAWA looks to aid African women entrepreneurs to obtain loans to finance their businesses, as they “contribute significantly to economic development and financial integration in Africa through job creation,” according to the AfDB.
“Through the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program, the African Development Bank aims to unlock up to $3 billion in financing for women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises by de-risking them and enhancing financial institutions’ appetite to lend to women,” the website added.
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“Women are the backbone of our economy, however, they remain marginalised from access to many productive resources including finance, so AFAWA aims to change that game,” the Director, Women, Gender, and Civil Society, AfDB, Vanessa Moungar, in a short promotional video.
The funding initiative rests on three pillars: Finance, technical assistance, and enabling environment.
The growth support scheme’s goal is to ensure that financial institutions are incentivised to “lend more to women SMEs”.
Speaking on the untapped “customer segment”, the CEO, African Guarantee Fund Program Implementing Partner, Jules Ngankam, said, “It’s not a favour to women, but it’s a huge opportunity to tap into a customer segment that has not been exploited before.”