The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) says access to finance, markets and technologies for women will guarantee full transformation on the continent’s food system.
Ms Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Director-General, West Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the Bank, said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.
Akin-Olugbade said that access to finance for women would help the gender become more inclusive and narrow the global hunger gap.
According to her, analysis of Africa’s gender index indicates that only 23 per cent women have access to finance in the continent.
She said the bank in partnership with its partners had rolled out the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), to bridge the finance gap.
”AFAWA is a pan Africa initiative, which we have gotten partner to join the initiative and the objective is to bridge the $42 million financing gap.
”We are going to leverage on a number of financial instrument to add advisory services to really ensure successful implementation of the projects that we are going to deploy.
”We are going to provide technical training for women entrepreneurs and managerial skills.
”We really believe that with some of these activities, working with government to support legal, policy and regulatory reforms will really help to reduce barriers to women in finance.
”This is one of the initiative that we need to bridge the finance gap that women are facing,” she said.
Akin-Olugbade said that as of March, the Bank had approved close to half a billion dollars of lending to 2,000 women entrepreneurs.
She said the AFAWA initiative was working in Cote d’Ivoire, on a two-year advisory project in consultation with the government and some financial institutions to empower women.
”We are going to have more than 300 women farmers led organisation in the crops sector and the women cooperatives will be linked to agriculture finance and digital platform so that they will be able to market their agriculture products.
”This way, post-harvest losses can be reduced quickly.
”We are also in partnership with Ecobank in Ghana to change the agriculture landscape to transition women entrepreneurs into the formal sector.
”What we have in Ghana is the $20 million AFAWA project that we call financing climate resilient agriculture practices.
”In this project, we are targeting about 400 women led small and medium enterprises and with this, we can have a multiplier of 100 because we think we can reach about 400,000 beneficiaries,” she said. (NAN)