The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Africa Digital Financial Inclusion (ADFI) facility will receive $15 million to develop and extend digital financial solutions to women-owned small and medium businesses across Africa. According to the bank, women entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya and Mozambique would benefit from the fund through the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). Under the arrangement, the funds would enable the ADFI facility to design and implement programmes to improve digital access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The bank added that the fund would also reduce the $ 42 billion gender finance gap and improve women’s operational efficiency to build back better, following the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
The Director of Financial Sector Development Department of AfDB, Stefan Nalletamby, said that digital financial solutions were key to improving the quality of life of people in Africa. “This funding, which is complementary to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, will be used to provide an avenue for their increased economic empowerment and resilience”, Nalletamby said. The bank quoted also the Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Barbel Kofler, as saying that We-Fi’s fourth round of allocation came at a crucial time when ”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”.
We-Fi, which was established in October 2017 with Secretariat located in the World Bank in Washington DC, harnesses the public and private sectors to open new doors for women entrepreneurs across the developing world. We-Fi supports women entrepreneurs by scaling up access to financial products and services, building capacity, expanding networks, offering mentors, and providing opportunities to link with domestic and global markets by working with six multilateral development banks as implementing partners such as AfDB, Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank Group, and IFC.