G7 Leaders Empower African Women Entrepreneurs With $251m


G7 Leaders Empower African Women Entrepreneurs With $251m

Leaders of the G7 nations have approved a $251 million package empowerment support for the African Development Bank (AfDB) Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.

AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the AfDB will provide $1 billion financing. The risk-sharing mechanism used by AFAWA is a practical approach to international commitments, The Nation Newspaper reports.

It is 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.

AFAWA was adopted during a summit of African Heads of State in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for implementation.

The $251 million empowerment for African women entrepreneurs was announced at a press conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, during the week.

French President/G7 president Emmanuel Macron said: “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 AfDB, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks.”

Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo, a guest at the press conference, in her role as programme ambassador, described African women as the continent’s backbone. “I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent,” she said.

AfDB 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,” he said.

Adesina said women operate over 40 per cent of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs.

‘’This gap must be closed, and quickly,” the AfDB president said, adding, “This financing empowerment for women is the most significant in the continent’s history.”

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