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    Thursday, July 4, 2024

    AfDB Group Initiates Project Aimed at Mapping Women Entrepreneurs’ Asociations in Africa

    The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has initiated a project aimed at comprehensively mapping women entrepreneurs’ associations across the African continent. The primary objective of the mapping project is to enhance the visibility of the associations, bolster their institutional capabilities, and streamline access to financing opportunities.

    Left to right, seated: Zeneb Touré, head of the Bank’s Civil Society and Community Engagement Division, Martha Phiri, Director of the Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Division, and acting head of the Civil Society and Community Engagement Department, and Dagou Yvonne Nivine Gadji, representing the SEPHIS Foundation. With them are some of the event participants, and colleagues from the Bank

    The African Development Bank initiated a project on June 26th with the objective of mapping 160 women entrepreneurs' associations across 16 African nations.

    The mapping project, backed by the Bank Group's Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative and Gender Equality Trust Fund (GETF), seeks to enhance the associations' visibility, bolster their institutional capabilities, and facilitate access to financing.

    By supporting this initiative, the Bank has taken a significant stride in fulfilling its commitment to empowering African women entrepreneurs, fostering women's economic empowerment, and driving inclusive growth across the African continent.

    The Bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, formally commenced the project at a ceremony held in Abidjan. The event was attended by numerous associations, umbrella organizations, and coalitions of women entrepreneurs, with approximately two hundred additional attendees joining virtually.

    “The African Development Bank’s Action Plan for Engaging with Civil Society 2024-2028 illustrates our commitment to inclusivity, transparency and accountability,” stated Ms. Dunford, in her opening speech.

    This initiative aims to foster collaboration and networking opportunities. As Zeneb Touré, Head of the Civil Society and Community Engagement Division at the Bank, rightly points out, "Associations of women entrepreneurs serve as catalysts for reforms and innovations that empower female entrepreneurship and provide women with the necessary economic resources to fully realize their potential..

    Ms. Dagou Yvonne Nivine Gadji, representing the SEPHIS Foundation – which facilitates access to Bank funding for women-led SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa – emphasized that the associations identified for the mapping project would be “catalysts for reforms, a boost to women’s empowerment and a crucible for building the capacity of several other networks of women entrepreneurs.”

    Jacqueline Tientcheu, President of the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Organizations in Central Africa (FOF-AC), said, “We are truly concerned about the issue of access to funding. However, it’s very difficult in Africa, because most women don’t have a guarantee for raising the funds they need. There are microfinance organizations that support women, but their interest rates are very high. We think that the AFAWA programme, through the Gender Equality Trust Fund (GETF), can help us.”

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