The African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program has signed a financial procedures agreement with the World Bank-led Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).
“This agreement is an important milestone for the AFAWA program, and presents an opportunity to leverage substantial resources to unlock the transformational potential of women’s entrepreneurship in Africa,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director of the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department.
Moungar said the agreement would lead to further collaboration on similar programmes and the opportunity to share lessons learned.The agreement was signed on 15 October 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Women form the backbone of African economies and have a critical role to play in inclusive economic development. However, they face numerous challenges in obtaining financing, owning and expanding businesses and access to capital and technology.
The Bank estimates the financing gap for African women’s business at US$42 billion. Its AFAWA initiative aims to provide financing and a holistic approach to women’s entrepreneurship.
We-Fi is a collaborative partnership among 14 governments, eight multilateral development banks (MDBs), and other public and private sector stakeholders, hosted by the World Bank Group. It seeks to address financial and non-financial constraints faced by women-owned/led small and medium enterprises in developing countries.
The founding financial contributors are: Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. These 14 governments have committed over $340 million to launch the facility’s activities.