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African Development Bank collaborates with African Guarantee Fund to Unlock Financing for Women-Led Enterprises, at AFAWA Finance Series Kenya

The African Development Bank and African Guarantee Fund (AGF), at AFAWA Finance Series Kenya, extended their hands on supporting more financial services to women-led enterprises in Kenya.

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

The African Development Bank in partnership with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF), and the government of Kenya, through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, inaugurated the 6th edition of the AFAWA Finance Series in Nairobi, Kenya. This 3-day event themed “Enhancing Financial Inclusion for Women” between 21-23 November, 2023, highlighted and challenged to revolutionise the financial landscape and foster women entrepreneurs in their growth and contribution to the continent’s economic development.

The AFAWA initiative aims to increase women’s financial access in the continent by bridging the $42 billion financing gap for Africa’s women-led, small and medium enterprises. Since its inception over two years ago, the AFAWA initiative has already approved $1.2 billion in funding for women-led enterprises in 32 countries through 96 financial institutions. The primary goal is to mobilise $5 billion in financing for African women-led businesses by 2026.

Ann Waiguru, Chair of the Council of Governors in Kenya, stated that “Financial products need to be tailored to women’s unique lived experiences, needs and aspirations from the start not later when at scale.” And she highlighted that “Financial institutions face a major challenge in understanding and responding to the unique needs of the women entrepreneurs. We need innovative approaches to improve women’s creditworthiness as traditional collateral requirements only serve to reinforce gender inequalities.”

The AFAWA Finance Series will emphasise the benefits of gender financing for women-led small and medium enterprises, financial institutions, the Kenyan Government and policymakers. 

Harriette Chiggai, Women’s Rights Advisor to the president of Kenya told reporters that “Kenyan women are known for their resilience and tenacity.The AFAWA Finance Series is a celebration of our commitment to creating an environment where Kenyan women can access essential financial tools for enterprise and development.”

The AFAWA Finance Series enables methods to enhance regulatory frameworks and boost financial access to women-led small and medium enterprises. The event will build understanding of AFAWA’s Guarantee for Growth (G4G) mechanism, implemented by the AGF, to help de-risk financial institutions that on-lend to women-led start-ups.

Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery at African Development Bank Group said “Too many women entrepreneurs across the continent are denied opportunities to grow their businesses.  We’re here today to help challenge common misperceptions and emphasize that there’s business to be had in offering financial services to women-led enterprises. AFAWA understands the challenges women face and the initiative is addressing them head on.”

Jules Ngankam, The CEO of AGF Group said that “The question we are addressing is how to support women and increase their productivity to fully participate in the GDP of the African economy. Through the AFAWA G4G program we are derisking financial institutions that on-lend to women-led SMEs increasing their appetite for this target market.”

AFAWA’s partnership with the African Guarantee Fund has seen 15 financial institutions in Kenya sign up for the risk sharing agreement. As a result, 925 women-led enterprises have had access to finance through these financial institutions.

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