The Senior Director, African Investment Forum, AIF, Chinelo Anohu, has expressed optimism that businesses run by African women will begin to experience exponential growth especially as key government institutions looks inward to open access to finance women led enterprises.
Anohu, said the AIF is focused on working and engaging the women to introduce ways that assist them to identify the champion within.
She listed some of the women-led projects on the platform to include a textile deal, a tannery, a telemedicine project, a Shea butter maker, a dried foods business, and a woman-led refinery project.
The Senior Director, points out that the telemedicine project, for example, has recently received nearly USD$1million feasibility studies grant from the USTDA [United States Trade and Development Agency], adding that the AIF is now working with the EXIM [Export-Import Bank of United States), to provide the funding for the project, after the studies have been finalised.
Oriental News Nigeria, reports that in May 2019, Chinelo Anohu, was appointed to her Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum, an initiative championed by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and seven other partners institutions: Africa 50, Africa Finance Corporation, Afreximbank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Trade and Development Bank.
A multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder platform, the AIF is today solidifying itself as Africa’s leading investment marketplace, accelerating transactions aimed at closing Africa’s Investment gaps. “Put simply,” she explains, “The reason why the AIF was initiated was to prepare projects for bankability, create more awareness for them, raise capital, and then accelerate deals to financial closure.”
“Between these mandates lie the very important task of unlocking the bottlenecks that prevent the acceptability of deals for financing; the bottlenecks that lie in raising capital; and the bottlenecks that lie in getting deals closed early enough.” She explains.
And in just 4 years since its inception in 2019, and under her helm, AIF is inarguably delivering – so far to the tune of more than US$100 billion in investment interest mobilization.
She expressed confidence that the African Union has declared this decade that of “Financial inclusion for women”, and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is now operational, that is also championing more inclusion of women in trade.
“I’m gratified by the attention women and gender agenda issues are getting not just within the continent, but globally. And for the African Union with all its might, to step out and make such a bold declaration is a plus for women. What needs to be done now is for the member countries to actually take that declaration and meant it.
She said further, “With regards to the AfCFTA, I believe it is a bold step that would when properly implemented significantly boost the African economy. No doubt, women-led businesses will play a huge role in actually kickstarting and sustaining the robust implementation of the AFCFTA.”