In a significant move, the African Guarantee Fund, in partnership with the African Development Bank Group, has greenlit a $1.2 billion loan to bolster women-led enterprises throughout Africa. This financial boost is set to benefit women entrepreneurs in 32 countries across the continent.
The announcement was made during the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Finance Series event in Lagos. This event is dedicated to unlocking financial opportunities for women entrepreneurs, a vital step towards economic empowerment.
Lamin Barrow, Director General for African Development Bank Nigeria Country Department, emphasized that the AFAWA initiative aims to bridge the $42 billion financing gap for women-led small and medium enterprises in Africa. The goal is to mobilize $5 billion in financing for these businesses by 2026. Since its launch over two years ago, AFAWA has already approved $1.2 billion for on-lending to women-led enterprises across 32 African countries.
Grace Ogbonna, representing the Minister of Finance, highlighted the importance of women’s empowerment for the nation’s economic growth. She stressed the need for collective efforts to ensure equal opportunities for women in the economic landscape.
Jules Ngankam, CEO of African Guarantee Funds Group, pointed out that in Africa, 70 percent of women face financial exclusion. This includes limited access to credit, land ownership, job opportunities, leadership positions, and wealth creation. These disparities hinder Africa from reaching its full potential. He commended the Nigerian government for promoting women-led small and medium enterprises and expressed the AGF’s eagerness to collaborate with the government and policymakers to create a more favorable environment for women entrepreneurs.