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Women-led Businesses In Sahel Region Secure Nearly $1m Grant From AfDB

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced that it is providing $950,000 to support women’s access to finance and training and accelerate economic inclusion in the Sahel region of Africa.

The $950,000 grant will be facilitated by AfDB’s Gender Equality Trust Fund to the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Programme in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

The Gender Equality Trust Fund supports the delivery and scaling of the bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme.

AFAWA aims to close the $42 billion gender financing gap for women-led African enterprises by promoting gender-transformative lending and non-lending operations.

The grant, which will supplement an earlier $3.9 million financing grant from the bank’s Transition Support Facility, is expected to bolster 1,400 women-led enterprises and contribute to the region’s economic resilience and social cohesion.

Women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region face significant barriers to accessing finance, markets, and business development services. The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Programme will provide women entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to overcome these barriers and grow their businesses.

It will also help increase productivity and employment opportunities, especially for young women and men, including offering capacity building in entrepreneurship, core business functions and management training.

The AfDB’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society Malado Kaba said it is exciting to see the Africa Small and Medium Enterprises Business Linkage Programme making the desired impact in the region.

“We are excited to extend the impact of the program that will reach more than a thousand women entrepreneurs across the Sahel region. We believe one key to building resilient African societies is the inclusion of women in economic development.

“The programme’s wide range of business-related training and coaching – in addition to increasing access to finance – will go a long way toward reaching that goal”,  she said.

The bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department conducted three studies and consulted with Sahel region chambers of commerce to identify women-led businesses to participate in the program.

The bank also supports national statistics offices to build more robust, gender-responsive data, which helps measure programme impact.

The G5 Sahel Union of Chambers of Commerce will administer the programme in collaboration with financial institutions and intermediaries to directly support access to finance for local, small and medium enterprises.

The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Programme aligns with the AfDB’s 2021-2024 Private Sector Development Strategy, its 2021-2025 Gender Strategy and the 2022-2026 strategy for addressing fragility and building resilience in Africa.
The grant was officially and graciously approved by the Board of Directors of the bank on 23rd of March.


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