At the just-concluded G7 Summit which took place in Biarritz, France, a finance package amounting to USD 251 Mn was approved by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and leaders of the G7 to support the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).
AFAWA; an initiative of the AfDB was launched in 2016 to promote access to finance and entrepreneurship in 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,” France’s Head of State, Emmanuel Macron said.
President @EmmanuelMacron mobilized $251 Million from G7 Leaders for a guarantee facility for AFAWA of the African Development Bank, to leverage $3 billion financing for women in Africa. An incredible global leader, partner & friend. Merci beaucoup Mr. President! 🙏🏻💕 pic.twitter.com/iFLChm9EZb
— Akinwumi A. Adesina (@akin_adesina) August 26, 2019
Prior to the G7 Summit, the AfDB was expected to let international media in on its AFAWA initiative and the bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, duly delivered. He expounded on the rationale behind this pan-African initiative that is focused on closing the financial chasm that keeps women in Africa from unlocking their full entrepreneurial potential.
The new support is highly expected to provide “extraordinary support” and “incredible momentum” to AfDB’s AFAWA programme. “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,” Akinwumi Adesina said.
Backed by the G7 countries, the AFAWA initiative of AfDB is rooted in three fundamental principles. The first is to improve women’s access to financing through innovative and adapted 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. The third principle is improving the legal and regulatory environment, eliminating obstacles that specifically affect women by engaging in policy dialogue with governments, central banks, and other institutions.
More so, AFAWA’s risk-sharing mechanism reflects a practical approach to international commitments. It could be considered a direct response to the demand by women to ease access to financing, specifically on the need to establish a financing mechanism for women’s economic empowerment, adopted during a summit of African heads of state in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for implementation. And with USD 251 Mn now in the bag, the initiative has certainly gathered just enough momentum for liftoff.