The G7 in recent years had promised much but provided little. Perhaps, the fact that most of the themes center on the interest of the economically advantaged countries at the expense of the third world.
Although, overshadowed by the call to #saveamazon, the announcement by the French President of a major funding for women enterpreneurs as championed by the African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina signaled hope.
French President Emmanuel Macron and other G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.
The traditional roles of women in Africa is changing, more importantly due to the economic situation of most African countries. It has become imperative to empower women on the continent. Financial independence of Africa's oppressed gender is key to economic development and a veritable tool to fight gender inequality.
“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. It works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron stated at a press conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
The risk-sharing mechanism used by AFAWA is a practical approach to international commitments. It is a direct response to the demand by women to ease access to financing. This is specifically on the need to establish a financing mechanism for women’s economic empowerment. Its an agenda that was adopted during a summit of African heads of state in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank for implementation.
“African women are the backbone of the continent. I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent,” said Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo, a guest at the press.
Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina was full of praise for the French President and other world leaders for pulling through with the deal. According to him, “this is a great day for African women. Investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is important. 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.”
AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank is expected to provide $1 billion in financing.
“This financing effort for women is the most significant in the continent’s history,” Adesina stated.
Header Image Credit: bta.bg