The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger will receive a $950,000 grant from the Gender Equality Trust Fund of the African Development Bank.
The grant, which will add to an earlier $3.9 million finance grant from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility, is anticipated to support 1,400 women-led businesses and promote social and economic cohesion in the area.
The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative of the bank is supported in its implementation and expansion by the Gender Equality Trust Fund. AFAWA promotes gender-transformative lending and non-lending activities with the goal of closing the $42 billion gender financing gap for women-led African firms.
Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women, and Civil Society, stated, “We are excited to extend the impact of the initiative that will reach more than a thousand women entrepreneurs across the Sahel region. “We think that involving women in economic growth is a vital to creating robust African societies. Along with improving access to financing, the program’s extensive business-related training and mentoring will go a long way toward achieving that aim, she continued.
The Sahel region’s female entrepreneurs confront tremendous obstacles when trying to access financing, markets, and business development services. The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program will give female business owners the resources and tools they need to get beyond these obstacles and expand their enterprises.
Additionally, by providing capacity building in entrepreneurship, fundamental business operations, and management training, it will help enhance productivity and job prospects, particularly for young men and women.
To find women-led enterprises to take part in the program, the bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department conducted three studies and met with chambers of commerce in the Sahel region. In order to monitor the effectiveness of programs, the bank also assists national statistics agencies in developing more complete, gender-responsive data.
The program will be run by the G5 Sahel Union of Chambers of Commerce in conjunction with financial institutions and middlemen to directly promote local, small, and medium-sized businesses’ access to financing.
The African Development Bank’s 2021-2024 Private Sector Development Strategy, 2021-2025 Gender Strategy, and 2022-2026 strategy for tackling fragility and fostering resilience in Africa are all in line with the objectives of the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program.