International Women’s Day 2023: AFAWA Finance Series enhances gender focus of Ghana’s digital financial services policy, bolsters commitments to overcome financing gaps
Ghana’s Central Bank has lauded the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative for its role in equipping women-owned businesses to drive the country’s economy.
“This partnership between AFAWA, the African Guarantee Fund and the Ghana Association of Banks is timely and urgent,” said Elsie Addo Awadzi, second deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, in Accra. “We believe it will go a long way in helping our economy recover from the current macro-economic challenges it faces and indeed make it more resilient.” Awadzi was speaking during the recent AFAWA Finance Series workshop held in the country’s capital to reaffirm the business case for bolstering women’s access to finance.
Awadzi called on stakeholders in Ghana to support the AFAWA initiative, saying it would serve the common good.
AFAWA is a pan-African initiative of the African Development Bank to bridge the $42 billion financing gap facing women in Africa.
The Finance Series, jointly organized by the African Guarantee Fund, offers an introduction to AFAWA’s partnership services for African finance ministers, central bank governors and financial institutions. In Accra, the three-day series addressed the country’s gender financing gap, the importance of gender-smart investment approaches, and how to increase business opportunities by building products and services to serve women entrepreneurs.
Participants also received a presentation on AFAWA’s Guarantee for Growth program, which offers practical advice on improving gender-sensitivity in lending practices. Research shows women are better at repaying loans than men, and typically reinvest up to 90% of their income in the education, health and nutrition of their families and communities.
“Our objective is to provide a holistic solution to bridge the gender financing gap in Africa,” said Jules Ngankam, Group CEO of the African Guarantee Fund. “The African Guarantee Fund is committed to working with financial institutions to support women entrepreneurs through the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program.” The fund is a specialized guarantee provider that advances economic development, sustainable job creation and poverty reduction in Africa.
“Women are key stakeholders in Africa’s integration and economic development, it is imperative that they are supported with progressive initiatives such as AFAWA that enable them to thrive in their various endeavors,” Eyerusalem Fasika, African Development Bank Ghana Country Manager, told participants.
The workshop, the first held in West Africa, follows successful events in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
AFAWA recently notched a key milestone: it has approved $1 billion in financing for African women entrepreneurs. The workshops also coincided with the rollout of AFAWA’s Digital Financial Services Policy, which aims to build understanding of market dynamics from a gender perspective and to increase women’s access to digital financial products.
Supported by G7 countries, the Netherlands and Sweden, AFAWA takes a holistic approach to boost access to finance for women-owned and women-led businesses; strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs and financial institutions; and mobilize and support African governments to enact the legal, political and regulatory reforms needed for the development of women’s entrepreneurship.
To watch a video stream of the opening ceremony, click here