The African Development Bank and partners officially launched Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Risk Sharing Facility earlier this week at a press conference held during the 2019 Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme started with significant support from commercial banks and a $1 million commitment from the government of Rwanda.
AFAWA is one of the Bank’s gender-focused programmes which seeks to close the financial gap for women by accelerating growth and employment creation across African economies.
“Today is a great day! With this facility, women will be able to receive technical assistance. We shall strengthen our capacity and we shall get there. The decision that we are taking today is highly transformational. It will permanently transform Africa.” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.
The press conference was attended by several heads of commercial banks, Director of Sustainable Development, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Mr. Philippe Lacoste, Ambassador of Netherlands to Rwanda, Matthijs Wolters and Rwandan Minister of Finance Uzziel Ndagijimana.
“The government of Rwanda fully supports this initiative and is ready to work with the Bank to make AFAWA a success,” said Ndagijimana.
The African Guarantee Fund and Attijariwafa Bank signed a $50 million Memorandum of Understanding to de-risk lending to women through partial guarantees.
Head of Development, International Retail, Attijariwafa Bank Hicham Fadili said that the agreements will allow them to give new impetus to women’s entrepreneurship in Africa.
AFAWA is expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through access to finance as well as policy, capacity-building development, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.
A package totalling $251 million in support of AFAWA was approved by G7 during the summit in Biarritz in August.
Signing on behalf of Ecobank, Joséphine Anan-Ankomah, CEO of Ecobank Group, gave assurance that her bank was committed and ready to adapt its methods to help ensure women’s success.
The 2019 Global Gender Summit was co-organized by Rwanda and the African Development Bank with an aim to share best practice and encourage innovation to accelerate progress on gender equality.