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AfDB to fund women businesses with $500m

The African Development Bank (AfDB) expects to disburse $500 million for women businesses in 2022.

Women farmers
A gathering of women farmers

President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the ongoing Finance in Common Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The third edition of the summit is co-organised by the bank and the European Investment Bank with a focus on “Green and Just Transition for a Sustainable Recovery”.

“We must revitalise hope for women.

“That’s why the African Development Bank, with strong support of the French government, the UK, Netherlands, and Nordic countries, launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women.

“I am delighted that last year we disbursed $534 million for women businesses and this year we expect to disburse another $500 million for women.

“Women run Africa, so when women win, Africa wins!”

Adesina further said the bank planned to invest $10.5 billion in agriculture over the next five years.

“We’re looking forward to working together to help unlock the potential of Africa to feed itself and to help also feed the world,” he said.

The AfDB president also said the bank was driving the transformation of agriculture in Africa by supporting the establishment of special agro-industrial processing zones with $779 million.

He said it had already begun in 12 countries.

“I would like to especially thank our partners, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the Islamic Development Bank, who have provided $669 million of co-financing towards the establishment of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in Africa.”

Furthermore, he spoke on what the bank was doing to revitalise hope for the youth.

“That’s why the African Development Bank is working together with Agence Française de Development to develop the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.

“Together with other partners including African governments, African central banks, African financial institutions, the European Investment Bank, the European Union Commission, and the Mastercard Foundation.

“The Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks will be new financial institutions that will provide new financial ecosystems around the businesses of the youth across Africa.”

However, he said participants at the summit must keep working together to leverage investments to tackle development challenges and mobilise more financing globally and leverage private capital.

“We must work smarter. We must leverage. We must tilt private financing to complement all our efforts.

“We must reform and improve the effectiveness of global financial architecture to address the growing development challenges around the world financing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The AfDB president also spoke on the Africa Investment Forum scheduled to hold in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in November.

“That’s what we are doing on the Africa Investment Forum, which has become Africa’s premiere investment platform to attract private investments to Africa.

“Launched in 2018, the Africa investment forum has in three years helped to mobilise 110 billion dollars in investment interests’ commitment to Africa.

“In March of this year, the Africa Investment Forum secured investors’ interest commitment for $16 billion to finance the Lagos-Abidjan Highway, which will transform the economies and trade within West Africa.

“That’s the power of working together.”

He also said the Finance in Common summit had collective lending volumes of $2.3 trillion annually.

Adesina, however, said it could be deployed more effectively to help drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Furthermore, he said the solution to global challenges was finance.

“So, let’s connect. Let’s cooperate. Let’s leverage. Let’s work in common. Let’s deliver finance in common. Together we can. Together we must. Together we will,” he said.

By Temitope Ponle

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