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AfDB’s AFAWA to unlock $5bn for women-owned SMEs by 2026

Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) is a pan-African initiative of the African Development Bank, which aims to reduce the estimated $42 billion financing gap that affects women entrepreneurs in Africa.

AFAWA offers a multi-pronged approach to addressing the constraints women entrepreneurs face in Africa.

AFAWA aims to unlock $5 billion in financing for small and medium-sized enterprises owned and managed by women by 2026 and is supported by the Bank’s partners and donors, G7 countries, as well as the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

The funding, which aims to strengthen the ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, is in line with AfDB’s agenda to further gender equality and women’s empowerment.

In January 2021, Africa Development Bank, and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) signed a risk-sharing agreement of $250 million through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) with the goal of unlocking up to $2 billion in financing for Women SMEs in Africa through financial institutions.

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The risk-sharing facility is supported by a $25 million technical assistance grant to AGF to enhance the capacity of financial institutions benefiting from the facility to better address the needs of women SMEs as well as assist women entrepreneurs in increasing their bankability.

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