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$15m for women-owned SMEs in Africa

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) has announced a $15 million funding for African Development Bank’s Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI) to women-owned small and medium businesses in Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya and Mozambique.

It is its fourth round of financing of $54.8 million to benefit almost 69,000 women entrepreneurs in developing economies with access to digital technology and finance.

The funds will enable the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility to design and implement programs to improve digital access to finance for women entrepreneurs, reducing the $42 billion financing gap, and improving their operational efficiency to build back better following the COVID-19 crisis.

“We-Fi’s fourth round of allocations comes at a crucial time. Women’s economic empowerment is under pressure due to conflict and insecurity, rising prices, and the continuous fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic around the world,” said Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Bärbel Kofler., adding: “I am pleased to see our Implementing Partners preparing such strong proposals to support women-led businesses. Access to technology and financing will be key to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs.”

“Digital financial solutions are key to improving the quality of life of people in Africa and to reducing the gender access-to-finance gap. The funding, which is complementary to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa Initiative (AFAWA), will be used not only to broaden access to finance for women small and medium businesses but also to provide an avenue for their increased economic empowerment and resilience,” said Director, Financial Sector Development Department, African Development Bank Group Stefan Nalletamby.

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Three other multilateral development banks received allocations in this fourth round: The Islamic Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and the World Bank Group.

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