This announcement is coming after a memorable summit held last week by the bank to address the growing problems with food security in Africa.
A total of 34 heads of state and government, more than 70 ministers, farmers' representatives from the corporate sector, and development partners attended the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit, which was co-hosted by the Africa Development Bank and the Government of Senegal.
During the event, the vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development of the Bank, Dr. Beth Dunford, stated: “I am incredibly proud of AFAWA’s financing achievement. AFAWA’s benchmark reminds us that when we invest to grow Africa’s food systems, we must also invest in Africa’s women agripreneurs.”
The gender disparity in Africa’s agricultural sector is very glaring, owing to the fact that women constitute the majority of the workforce in this sector and yet control a small percentage of the wealth generated. This point is further buttressed by the estimated $42 billion gender financing gap compared to men.
To this effect, AFAWA was created, and in the last two years, this initiative has aided in giving female African farmers more autonomy over their agricultural careers, by multiplying the number of investments made in women-owned small and medium-sized businesses.
“By the end of December 2022, AFAWA-approved lending to women-led small and medium-sized enterprises reached $1.051 billion. Of that, $135 million targets women in the agriculture sector,” said Malado Kaba, Director of the Bank’s Gender, Women, and Civil Society Department.
“AFAWA’s approved lending reaches across 27 countries, and through 56 financial institutions. Already 4,115 women business owners have benefited from AFAWA financing instruments. This is just the beginning,” the director added.
In the Cote d'Ivoire sector of basic crop food, AFAWA is striving to strengthen the professional and financial capacities of over 200 women cooperatives. This includes instruction and access to a digital marketplace that connects women farmers with wholesalers, retailers, and customers all around Cote d'Ivoire.
Additionally, AFAWA is partnering with Ecobank on the “Financing Climate Resilient Agricultural Practices in Ghana” project. To bridge the gap in working capital for farmers, the project raised $20 million from the Green Climate Fund and $5 million from Ecobank Ghana as co-financing.
AFAWA has also introduced the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers initiative, which offers up to $250,000 to civil society organizations, women's business associations, incubators, and accelerators.
Overall, the organization is working to encourage, empower, and educate female agricultural players in Africa, with the additional goal of unlocking $5 billion in lending for women by 2026.
**This post forms part of the Africa Collective initiative, for which Business Insider Africa is the lead media partner. Learn more about the initiative here.