G7 leaders approve $251 million package for female African entrepreneurs

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and G7 leaders have approved a package totalling US$251 million for an African Development bank initiative supporting female entrepreneurs in Africa.

The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) was created by African heads of state in 2015 to ease access to financing for women, particularly on the need to establish a financing mechanism for female economic empowerment.

At a press conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, Macron stated that he is particularly proud, as the current G7 president, of the organisation’s support of the AFAWA programme.

“The AFAWA initiative comes from an African organisation – the African Development Bank – which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” he said.

AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs, with the African Development Bank providing $1 billion in financing. “This financing effort for women is the most significant in the continent’s history,” noted the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina.

“This is a great day for African women,” Adesina said. “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% 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,” he added.