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New Grant Raises Hope For Women-owned Small Businesses In Africa


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A new round of funding grant amounting to $15 million is underway for the growth and development of women-owned small businesses in Africa.

This is coming under the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI). The grant which is the fourth round of financing of $54.8 million will benefit almost 69,000 women entrepreneurs in developing economies with access to digital technology and finance.

Similarly, three other multilateral development Banks received allocations in this fourth round: The Islamic Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and the World Bank Group.

Hosted by the World Bank Group, We-Fi is a partnership among 14 governments, eight Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), and other public and private sector stakeholders. The African Development Bank (AfDB) is an implementing partner, and its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme is a We-Fi initiative.

ADFI is a pan-African initiative designed to catalyse digital financial inclusion throughout Africa with the goal of ensuring that 332 million more Africans, 60 percent of them women, gain access to the formal economy by 2030.

Launched in 2019, ADFI works through the gender-intentional development of infrastructure, policies and regulations and product innovation. Current ADFI partners are the Agence française de developpement (AFD); the Ministry for the Economy & Finance, France; the Ministry of Finance, Luxembourg; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the AfDB, who host and manage the facility.

The funds will enable the ADFI to design and implement programs to improve digital access to finance for women entrepreneurs, reducing the $42 billion financing gap, and improving their operational efficiency to build back better following the COVID-19 crisis.



Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Bärbel Kofler applauded the timing of the latest round of funding.

“We-Fi’s fourth round of allocations comes at a crucial time. Women’s economic empowerment is under pressure due to conflict and insecurity, rising prices and the continuous fallout from the Covid pandemic around the world.

“I am pleased to see our Implementing Partners preparing such strong proposals to support women-led businesses. Access to technology and financing will be key to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs”, she said.

Similarly, the Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the AfDB, Stefan Nalletamby observed that digital financial solutions are key to improving the quality of life of people in Africa and to reducing the gender access-to-finance gap.

“This funding, which is complementary to the AFAWA Initiative, will be used not only to broaden access to finance for women small and medium businesses, but also to provide an avenue for their increased economic empowerment and resilience” he stressed.


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