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AfDB heightens efforts to increase women access to finance in Ghana

Economics Afdb Finance
Economics Afdb Finance

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is working towards ensuring that women entrepreneurs in Ghana get more access to finance to grow and sustain businesses.

This is under its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Finance Series, AfDB, through, which the Bank is enhancing the capacity of about 20 financial institutions in Ghana.

The move is to empower the financial institutions to explore practical solutions to increase women’s access to finance, such as innovative and tailored financial products and non-financial services, digital technologies, and policy reforms.

The Bank is doing this together with the African Guarantee Fund and the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB) to reduce the gender gap in access to finance, and enable women-led businesses to increase their contribution to economic resilience and national development.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) reports that the formal finance gap for Micro-Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana is estimated to approximately USD 5 billion.

AFAWA, therefore, seeks to address the various bottlenecks that impede women in Ghana to have access to credit and other financial support services to grow their businesses sustainably.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first West-African edition of AFAWA in Accra on Tuesday, Madam Eyerusalem Fasika, Country Manager, Ghana Office, AfDB, said AfBD would identify opportunities for collaboration between governments, financial institutions, and other stakeholders to support women entrepreneurs.

She said the flagship initiative (AFAWA), was specifically focused on increasing inclusive finance for women entrepreneurs on the continent, adding that AfDB had invested $1 bn to be on-lent to women SMEs in 27 countries across Africa since 2021.

Mad Fasika called on all stakeholders to “work together to ensure that women have the resources and support they need to unleash their full potential and contribute to the development of our continent”.

She noted that the Bank as part of its 2021-2025 Gender Strategy to put women’s economic empowerment at the centre of its High Five Development strategy, came up with AFAWA as its first pillar.

The Country Director lauded Ghana’s effort in supporting and promoting women-led businesses and financial inclusion, which had led to it being “one of the top three countries in the world with the highest proportion of women entrepreneurs”.

Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi, Second Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana, who spoke on behalf of the Governor, said in Ghana, the gender gap in access to finance as of 2021 had widened to eleven per cent, from the nine per cent that had persisted since 2017.

She said the percentage of women accessing finance had increased from 27 per cent in 2011 to 63 percent in 2021.
She described the intervention as an opportunity, particularly for financial institutions, and urged them to “take up this challenge and see the business opportunities that remain untapped in the women market to build a stronger and more resilient financial sector”.

She noted that the partnership between AFAWA, AGF, and GAB was timely and that it would help the Ghanaian economy recover from the current macroeconomic challenges and make it more resilient going forward.

AFAWA Finance Series seeks to empower women; and improve their access to training and finance to affirm their meaningful contribution to economic growth, both at the national and continental levels.

The initiative seeks to close the US$42 billion access to finance gap for women-empowered businesses in Africa over the next five to six years by working with partner financial institutions and through innovative financing instruments to provide capacity building and policy dialogue to support appropriate legal and regulatory reforms.

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