The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) an Initiative of African Heads of Government which is managed by the African Development Bank (ADB) received a major boost as G7 leaders committed to donating two hundred and fifty million dollars towards its implementation.
The French President, Emanuel Macron voiced his support and excitement at the international intergovernmental economic organization, G7 over the AFAWA initiative, which is at the core of gender equality, economic empowerment and poverty reduction.
The AFAWA initiative is a response of African leaders at the African Heads of Government Summit in 2015 to ensure the economic empowerment of women by improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs, the mandate was handed to the African Development Bank to implement and this $251 Million dollars boost if properly managed will bridge the gap between funding available to men and women entrepreneurs.
The ADB president Akinwumi Adesina applauded the “extraordinary support of all the G7 heads of state and government, which will provide incredible momentum” to the 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,” Adesina said.
He added that currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. A gap that must be closed quickly. AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank will provide $1 billion financing. “This financing effort for women is the most significant in the continent’s history,” Adesina noted.
The African Development Bank and its partners must ensure accountability, equity and fairness in the distribution of AFAWA funds. Beneficiaries must also ensure the prudent utilization of resources made available to them.
The G7 leaders have done their bit, African leaders must also commit more resources towards the success of AFAWA and other initiatives aimed at improving the economic status of women across Africa
Dr. Jumai Ahmadu
President, Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja
Co-Convener, Africa Women Conference