By Maxwell Awumah, GNA
Ho, Oct 04, GNA - Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has said the new tool to track the level of lending to women across the continent would leverage the critical financial help women needed to advance.
He said the Women’s Financing Index, currently under development, will rate banks and financial institutions who apply for loans from the African Development Bank, against the amounts they have lent or are lending to women.
“Institutions will be rated by their development impact: the rate and volume at which they lend to women,” Dr Adesina said.
According to a release copied to the Ghana News Agency, he told attendees at a public event held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that
top institutions with concessions to women would be rewarded with preferential financing terms from the AfDB.
The Bank, through its AFAWA, initiative – Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa -aims to mobilise $3billion to bridge the financing gap for women on the continent.
The release said despite being at the forefront of economic activity on the continent, women in Africa were disproportionately disadvantaged, particularly those in conflict-ridden areas, who were three times less likely to go to school, have less access to resources and justice, and are unable to obtain funding for businesses, farming and other commercial ventures.
Dr Hippolyte Fofack, chief economist of Afreximbank, said its vision to promote intra-African trade was directly tied to the theme of providing women with credit.
“Access to finance is at the root of development initiatives…that is why Afreximbank was created,” Fofack said, adding that Afreximbank’s top goals included supporting African women in agri-processsing to minimize post-harvesting losses, and acting as trade financing intermediaries.
“We are committed to providing loans but we also grow with our clients,” he said.
Denise Tshisekedi, the First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo, spoke of the disadvantaged position Congolese women held: 50-80% of women work in farming, while only 30% have access to the formal work sector. “The biggest problem is conflict and displacement,” she said.
Andrew Wilson, Executive Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) said “Economically empowered women become politically empowered women”.
He said all businesses have problems with access to markets, but it’s harder for women.
“Women need to get better organized through groups – women’s business groups and to build coalitions across groups,” Wilson said.
For James, it is essential that women are heard. “There is a role for government; women have to be at the policy and decision-making table.”
Referring to the Sahel as the epicentre of conflict and climate change, Oulimata Sarr, UN Women Regional Director, West and Central Africa; said that questions of policy and skills development and financing needed to be asked.
“How do we de-risk women and grant them access to markets? I believe economic empowerment will bring about peace,” she added.
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