The course to support African women, with a financing capacity worth $5billion, received a boost at the just-concluded G7 leaders meeting in France, as the offered $251 million.
Nigeria stands to benefit with a host of its women entrepreneurs, in a scheme globally acknowledged as a direct response to the demand by women to ease access to financing.
It is specifically on the need to establish a financing mechanism for women’s economic empowerment, adopted during a summit of African heads of state in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for implementation, under the aegis of Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).
Meanwhile, AfDB, under the arrangements, would provide $1 billion financing, with the search for the remaining balance stays on course.
Currently, women operate over 40 per cent of Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa, despite a financing gap estimated at $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs.
French President and current G7 President, Emmanuel Macron, who led the industrialised nations for the donation, declared support for the scheme.
“We are supporting the AFAWA initiative, which comes from an African organisation, the African Development Bank, that works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron said.
Beninese artist and Programme Ambassador, Angelique Kidjo, said: “African women are the backbone of the continent. I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent.”
For the AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, the “extraordinary support of all the G7 heads of state and government, which will provide incredible momentum” to the AFAWA programme, is commendable.“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, adding that assessed financing gaps must “be closed, and quickly.”