French President Emmanuel Macron and G7 leaders approved a package totaling $ 251 million in support of the African Development Bank. Funds will be directed to the AFAWA (Bank Affirmative Financial Action for Women in Africa) Initiative, which aims to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.
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,” noted Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank.
“Currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. This gap must be closed, and quickly,” said Adesina.
During the summit of African heads of state in 2015, a commitment was made to empower women economically through actions that facilitated their access to finance. The implementation of this project was attributed to the African Development Bank.
“African women are the backbone of the continent. I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent,” celebrates Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo, program ambassador.
France holds the G7 presidency in 2019, and President Emmanuel Macron defends gender equality as one of the main themes of his five-year term. “I am particularly proud, as the current G7 president, that the program we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organization, the African Development Bank, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron said during a press conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
The AFAWA initiative, supported by the G7 nations, is based on three fundamental principles. The first is to improve women’s access to finance through innovative and adapted financial instruments, the second is to provide capacity building services, and the third to improve the legal and regulatory environment by removing specific obstacles that affect women entrepreneurs.