By Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja. -. The African Development Bank (AfDB), says Governing Committee of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) has approved 61.8 million dollars funding allocation for its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme.
The Communication and External Relations Department of the bank made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
We-Fi is a partnership among 14 donor governments, eight multilateral development banks, and other public and private sector stakeholders, established in October 2017 and hosted by the World Bank Group.
The statement reported Vanessa Moungar, the bank’ s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society as making the announcement recently.
The statement also quoted the director as saying that “this substantial support from We-Fi, would help us scale up our actions and achieve greater results for women entrepreneurs across the continent.
“Our ambition with AFAWA goes beyond regular assistance to women in business.
“With the We-Fi funding, AFAWA intends to improve access to finance for 40,000 women-owned and led small and medium enterprises in 21 African countries.
” Those mainly in low-income and fragile countries where women entrepreneurs face greater challenges in accessing finance, markets, knowledge, and mentoring programmes.
According to Moungar, the programme’s activities will be implemented in Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Mauritania.
Other countries that would benefit are Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
She said activities funded by We-Fi would be aligned with AFAWA’s three-pronged approach to holistically addressing the 42 billion dollars financing gap between women and male entrepreneurs.
“The first AFAWA pillar aims to increase access to finance for women through innovative and tailored financial instruments, including to guarantee mechanisms to back up women entrepreneurs.
“In collaboration with strategic partners, the second pillar focuses on providing capacity-building services to women entrepreneurs, including access to mentoring and entrepreneurship training courses.
“AFAWA also helps financial institutions address the specific needs of women-owned led businesses through tailored financial and non-financial products.
“The third pillar concentrates on improving the business environment for women by engaging in policy dialogue with central banks and other relevant authorities and stakeholders” she said.