AFAWA Initiative Enablers to Support Africa’s Women-led Businesses

The Evangelist
November 8, 2022

The African Development Bank Group’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative has launched its second call for proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers programme, targeting women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, women-led cooperatives, and civil society organisations,promoting the development of women entrepreneurs on the continent. AFAWA aims to unlock $5 billion in financing for small and medium-sized enterprises owned and managed by women by 2022.

The programme supports projects that enhance the viability and sustainability of formal women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enables them to access financing opportunities to grow their businesses.

The bank said successful proposals will demonstrate innovative approaches to building a supportive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, aimed at improving access to finance for women SMEs.

It said enablers are expected to develop a comprehensive and sustainable capacity-building programme to enable access to finance in partnership with financial institutions. It said applicants from all 54 African countries are welcomed, including organisations in the Sahel region and North Africa . Eligible organisations may request one-time funding of between $100,000 and $250,000, which will be provided through the Bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund.

‘Patronise made-in-Nigeria products’

“Our first call for Women Entrepreneurship Enablers proposals drew nearly a thousand applications from organisations doing some groundbreaking work to equip women with the tools to expand their businesses,” said the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society,Malado Kaba.

“Today, we are excited to pursue this initiative by bringing in a second cohort and funding the development of their capacity building activities allowing women entrepreneurs to obtain significant financing and scale,” she said.

“Entrepreneurship enablers play an important role in bolstering the skills of women to establish ‘bankable’ SMEs. However, the enablers themselves often face challenges, such as viable long-term growth plans and lack of financing, which reduce their reach, impact, and sustainability” said AFAWA’s Manager, Esther Dassanou.

Following the first call for proposals, issued in May last year, AFAWA selected 10 pan-African organisations with demonstrated success in mobilising finance for women entrepreneurs.

They are: AECF (Kenya); Seedstars (Tanzania); African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (South Africa); Graça Machel Trust (South Africa); Entreprenarium (Rwanda); Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative (Nigeria); Transformational Business Network (Kenya and Uganda); Creative SpaceNG (Nigeria); E4Impact (Kenya); and PAWA Africanization (South Africa).

All proposals are to be received by November 25.(Nation Newspaper)

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