The African Development Bank (AfDB) has secured USD 61.8 Mn in investments from the governing committee of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).
The funds will be used to support the growth of female-led ventures in Africa, a move in the trail of the bank’s Affirmative Finance for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative.
Looking to support thousands of women in Nigeria and 20 other African countries with the new financial input, We-Fi is a collaborative effort under the auspices of the World Bank Group.
The October 2017-established body comprises 14 donor governments, eight multilateral development banks and other private and public sector stakeholders.
Reports assert that the funding will be an enabling force for no less than 40,000 women-owned and female-led Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the said countries, for them to access finance more efficiently and substantially.
The fund birthed from the ovens of AFAWA will knuckle down and zero in on low-income and economically fragile countries where women-preneurs face long-faced challenges in fund access, markets, knowledge, and mentoring programs.
Access to finance is something that has been decried in too many concessions to mention. The European Investment Bank adds voice by saying that the problem remains a challenge that plays the hardball for growing businesses across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific (ACP) region.
AfDB has maintained the position but narrows the threat down to the women-unfriendly funding gap in Sub-Saharan Africa at an estimated USD 20 Bn.
The USD 61.8 Mn and other amounts that might follow will not only contribute immensely to making funds available for female entrepreneurs in the region but advance the bits done by women to the social and economic development of their various societies.
In a related comment, AfDB’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Mounger said: “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,” Moungar said.
It’s no new business to invest in African women. Narrowing and possibly bridging the gender gap as well as the economic empowerment of women is something that has garnered more than enough attention as of late. The Economic Commission for Africa recently unveiled a massive USD 500 Mn fund for African female entrepreneurs.
President Donald Trump’s Women Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) was launched in February to reach 50 million women globally, Africa mostly considered.
Driving the empowerment of women for social impact, the initiative joins the league of other local and foreign efforts to improve the ease of doing business for African women to cement close the gender hiatus.
According to McKinsey, the female economy stands as the world’s largest emerging market, potentially able to add USD 12 Tn to global GDP by 2025.
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