EMMANUEL Macron, French President and G7 leaders on Sunday in Biarritz, France approved $251 million in support of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.
The move to begin implementation of the AFAWA project, aimed at establishing a financial mechanism for women’s economic empowerment adopted by African leaders in 2015 has been hailed as a much needed strategic move towards women development in the continent.
“I am particularly proud, as the current G7 president, that the programme we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organisation, the African Development Bank, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron stated at a press conference at the G7 Summit.
Also, Akinwumi Adesina, AFDB president applauded the support of the world economic leaders that would provide ‘incredible momentum’ to the project.
“This is a great day for African women. Investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is important because women are not only Africa’s future, they are Africa’s present.
“Currently, women operate over 40 per cent of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. This gap must be closed, and quickly.
“This financing effort for women is the most significant in the continent’s history,” Adesina said.
AFAWA is expected to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs while the African Development Bank will provide $1 billion financings.
The initiative is solely focused on three fundamental principles– improve women’s access to financing, provide capacity-building services, and improving the legal and regulatory environment.
Championing gender equality as a major theme of his five-year term, Macron heads the presidency of the G7 in 2019.