Countries in the G7 have committed $251 million to help improve access to finance for female entrepreneurs in Africa.
The funding will be provided through AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa), a programme by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, announced the funding at a press conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
“I am particularly proud, as the current G7 president, that the programme we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organisation, the African Development Bank, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” he said.
Commenting on the funding, Akinwumi Adesina, the AfDB president, said: “This is a great day for African women. Investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is important because women are not only Africa’s future, they are Africa’s present.
“Currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. This gap must be closed, and quickly.
“This financing effort for women is the most significant in the continent’s history.”
According to a statement by the AfDB, AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank will provide $1 billion.
The G7 is made up of France, United States of America, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Germany and Japan.