African development bank calls for greater access to finance for African women

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for greater access to finance for African women.

A statement by the bank said that Akinwumi made the call when he addressed the inaugural session of the Global Gender Summit.

AfDB and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27 in Kigali.

The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group.

“When women borrow, they always repay and 90 per cent of them repay their loans without the least problem.

“So, where is the risk? The problem is prejudice and the banks’ lack of flexibility.

“We must leave this behind to allow women access to financing,” Adesina said.

According to him, the financial sector has a responsibility to the women of Africa.

“From now on, we shall be grading every African financial institution for how well it helps women.

“Every financial ecosystem must evolve to support women. And we are going to put pressure on the guarantee banks,” Adesina said.

Salimata Dieng, the Senegalese Minister of Women, Family and Gender emphasised the need for financial institutions to support initiatives from women.

“These women have relatively moderate finance needs, just enough to create projects and jobs.

“They need support from the private sector and the banks to help them weave their way into the economy,” she said.

Andrew Temu, President of the African Guarantee Fund, advocated holding discussions with countries to improve the business environment.

According to Temu, what is especially needed is legislation that reassures the banks.

“There are a number of actors, banks, investors, entrepreneurs and clients operating within the economic market. Everyone needs to be in communication to address the risks,” Temu said.

Joséphine Anan-Ankomah, the Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Group said that the bank was already making big strides to gender parity.

She said that the pan-African bank had signed up to the African Union gender parity principle of 50/50.

“Currently, we are at 46 per cent and out of that, 30 per cent of those women are in senior management positions,” she said.

Christine Ngiriye, an entrepreneur said that she had seen little change in nearly 30 years.

“The problem that comes up again and again is that of collateral,” Ngiriye said

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