early USD$62 million for women in business is headed to the African continent, after the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) announced on Monday its funding allocation for the African Development Bank and its own women-focused programs.
The funding through AfDB’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) will be used to support 40,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in 21 African nations, most of them low-income.
“This substantial support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, We-Fi, will help us scale up our actions and achieve greater results for women entrepreneurs across the continent,” said Vanessa Moungar, the AfDB Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society. “Our ambition with AFAWA goes beyond regular assistance to women in business.”
The program’s three-pronged approach first seeks to improve access to finance for women; the AfDB estimates a $42 billion financing gap for African women. AFAWA also ensures there are mentoring and entrepreneurship training opportunities, while advocating finance policy with banks and governments.
We-Fi, which is housed at World Bank, announced a total of $129 million in funding, with the rest going to the Asian Development Bank, European programs for low-income Central Asian countries, and the Caribbean and Latin America. This is the second round of its funding.
“When we unleash women’s economic potential, they increase global growth, prosperity and peace,’ said Kristalina Georgieva, the World Bank Group CEO. “I look forward to continuing this momentum, because when women succeed, everyone benefits.”
The $61.8 million in African funding will go to: Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Image: AfDB file