AfDB approves GETF and financial mechanism to boost gender equality

africa derrriskThe African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a Gender Equality Trust Fund (GETF) aimed at pushing forward gender equality and women’s empowerment across the continent

Funded by donors, the GETF will support the delivery and scale-up of the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme and promote gender transformative lending and non-lending operations. It is the first thematic fund on gender in the AfDB’s history.

AFAWA is the Bank’s flagship pan-African initiative which aims to bridge the US$42bn financing gap facing women in Africa. Through AFAWA, the Bank is spearheading a major push to unlock women’s entrepreneurial capacity and economic participation for maximum development impact.

Besides, on 31 March, the Bank approved a risk-sharing mechanism financial instrument to de-risk women-empowered businesses, enhance their profile with banks and support them to grow and thrive as entrepreneurs.

Anchor investors in the GETF are the governments of France, the Netherlands and the UK.

“It’s a great day for us as a Bank. It is a great day for the continent and the women of Africa as this facility provides innovative ways to tackle the access to finance challenges for African women business owners,” said AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina.

The Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF) has been chosen as the first implementing partner to facilitate access to finance for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). AGF is a pan-African entity that provides financial institutions with guarantees and other financial products to support SMEs in Africa. AGF has a network spread out over 42 African countries and 150-plus financial institutions, which AFAWA will leverage. This first transaction is expected to unlock up to US$2bn in credit for women-empowered businesses across the continent.

Vanessa Moungar, director for gender, women and civil society at AfDB, described said that the partnership with AGF is a starting point for mobilising other financial institutions and increasing access to finance for women entrepreneurs on the continent.

Apart from the G7 donors and the Netherlands, other countries are showing strong interest in contributing to the initiative, including Rwanda and Sweden. The Bank Group will continue to mobilise resources in order to unlock US$5bn worth of financing for women-empowered businesses in Africa.

AFAWA is an implementing partner of the Women Entrepreneurship Finance (We-Fi) Initiative as well.

 

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