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US Govt Expresses Support For African Business Women Leaders

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The United States Government has expressed its support for business women leaders in Africa with a view to encouraging them to grow and attain greater heights.

U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire Jessica Davis disclosed this while speaking as special guest at a special evening session, hosted by the African Investment Forum (AIF) to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.

The event was organized for African women business leaders and innovators under the AIF’s “Women as investment Champions pillar”, was held in Abidjan.

The Women as Investment Champions initiative is a platform with a mission to increase the proportion of deals that are women-led, and women impactful, as well as build upon AIF’s projects.

Founded in 2019 by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and seven other founding partners, the Forum is a fully transactional, multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform dedicated to advancing private and public partnership deals to financial close.

Davis said her nation understood the importance of investing in women and empowering them to excel in business ventures.

“As for the United States we are there to support women, to encourage them, to form partnerships, to learn from them and also to exchange with them and to see how we can better open US markets to them and to encourage investment into Cote d’Ivoire and the region”, she said.

According to her, investing in women brings empowerment which brings prosperity in families, communities, countries and the world.

Only in December last year, the AIF garnered strong support in the U.S. during the US-Africa Business Summit convened by President Biden to help advance key infrastructure projects for the continent.

Three founding members of the Forum signed memoranda of understanding worth over $1 billion with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) to expand American trade and investment in Africa.

In her welcoming remarks, AIF Senior Director, Chinelo Anohu described the event as a prime opportunity to “sit and dine with each other, learn from each other and hear from those who are taking on the world”.

“I am gratified to see the champions in this room. Women who are doing marvelous things, who are doing big things; women doing small things in a big way, and big things in an even bigger way”, she added.

Chinelo also highlighted the support which the Africa Investment Forum has given to women following the launch of the Women as Investment Champions pillar in 2019.
“This pillar seeks financing that will accelerate women’s businesses and discover their particular needs and also encourage their innate strengths to ensure that they do the businesses they do.
“The AIF stands ready to assist everyone in this room and to learn from everyone in this room. Together we can lift each other up and support each other”, she further explained.
AfDB’s Senior Vice President, Swazi Tshabalala said the occasion was opportune for her to “talk to women entrepreneurs, hear their stories, understand their needs which I think will help us to better support them in growing their own businesses and pursuing their own passions”.

Tshabalala also expressed admiration for women involved in training other women for entrepreneurship and leadership roles. “I think that’s a very underrated part of the work that we need to do for women and as women”, she stressed.

As the businesswomen shared their journeys, triumphs and challenges, they also opened up about their expectations of AIF as a catalyst and facilitator of financing for women. They voiced their optimism and expectations of how much further women can go with more resources.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and partner, Hudson & Cie, Kadi Fadika, spoke about his organisation’s   new project which enables it to support women-owned small businesses.

“It’s not our only goal, but we offer women financing customized to their current size and growth,” she added.

Hudson & Cie is a financial company specialized in intermediation, the stock market industry, brokerage and investment management.

AIF’s partners are the AfDB together with seven other founding partners, namely Africa 50; the Africa Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank; and the Islamic Development Bank.


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