The just-concluded G7 Summit held in Biarritz comes with great news for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa.

G7 leaders led by President Macron of France have committed to support the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative with more than Sh20.7 billion (USD 200M).

AFAWA which is a joint initiative of the African Development Bank and African Guarantee Fund is a risk-sharing facility that will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs to adequately prepare them for easier access to finance.

AGF Group CEO, Felix Bikpo has acknowledged AFDB for spearheading the initiative and applauded the G7 leadership for recognising the importance of women as the backbone of the continent’s growth.

“AGF’s strategy recognises women as a great pillar of the development of African economies and has always focused on increasing access to finance for women. In fact, 30 per cent of the SMEs supported by AGF is owned or led by women. Through AFAWA, our role in financing women will be reinforced to enable even more women to fully play their role as drivers of economic growth through the SMEs they own or lead.”

While speaking at the press conference on the AFAWA program, President Macron stated, “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 Fund and a network of African banks.”

AFDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina hailed AGF’s exceptional rating and an extensive network of African financial institutions as a major pillar of success for AFAWA. He emphasised that the initiative will go a long way in reducing the USD 42 billion financing gap between men and women in the continent.

The African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF) is an AA- Fitch-rated Pan-African non-bank financial institution.

It contributes to the promotion of economic development in Africa through two lines of interventions:  the Provision of partial guarantees to financial institutions to facilitate access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. AGF offers three types of guarantees: Loan Guarantees, Resource Mobilization Guarantees and Equity Guarantees.

Provision of Capacity Development support to the Partner Financial Institutions to improve their ability to properly assess SME risks and to the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to build their capacity for easier access to finance.

It was founded by the government of Denmark through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the government of Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Other shareholders include: Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Nordic Development Fund (NDF), Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and KfW Development Bank (KfW).

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