The opening day on Tuesday 26 July 2022 drew over 200 representatives from banks and other financial institutions, governments, policymakers, and entrepreneurs in Tanzania
The African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative kicked off the first AFAWA Finance Series in collaboration with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and the Tanzania Bankers’ Association this week in Dar es Salaam.
The opening day on Tuesday 26 July 2022 drew over 200 representatives from banks and other financial institutions, governments, policymakers, and entrepreneurs in Tanzania for two days of exploring opportunities to reduce the $42 billion financing gap for women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The objective of the AFAWA Finance Series is for all participants to walk away with a better understanding of the business case for increasing women’s access to finance in Tanzania and across the continent. Some notable participants included Amid Hassan Chande, Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning; Lawrence Mafuru, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning; and Dr. Zainab Chaula, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups.
AFAWA Finance Series participants will learn about the AFAWA initiative and the Guarantee for Growth (G4G) programme, which increases financial institutions’ appetite to lend to women, who are known to be better payers, and who reinvest up to 90% of their income in the education, health and nutrition of their family and community. Representatives from financial institutions can take part in tailored workshops offering practical advice on improving gender-sensitivity in lending practicess and how they can leverage the 2X Challenge, launched at the G7 Summit 2018 as a bold commitment to inspire DFIs/IFIs and the broader private sector to invest in the world’s women.
The first edition of the AFAWA Finance Series is in Tanzania, with plans to host events in other African countries. “East Africa is home to some of the continent’s fastest-growing economies. The AFAWA initiative ensures women can access the finance and training they need to contribute fully to this growth,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, the African Development Bank’s Director General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office during the opening ceremony. “When the President of African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina visited Tanzania in February this year, he promised President Samia Suluhu Hassan that AFAWA would be launched in the country. This is a promise made and a promise kept. I am very pleased to be part of this,” she added.
AFAWA is committed to providing women with access to finance, technical assistance for financial institutions and fostering an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to succeed. “Through the AFAWA initiative and in partnership with the AGF, the Bank works directly with financial institutions across Africa to enhance their ability to serve women’s markets, allowing women-led businesses to scale. The AFAWA Finance Series in Tanzania is the first of several events planned across Africa to show financial institutions the commercial and economic benefits of financing women entrepreneurs,” said AFAWA Manager Esther Dassanou.
As the economy grows, it is critical to reduce barriers for women entrepreneurs to contribute fully. African Guarantee Fund Group Chief Executive Officer, Jules Ngankam, said: “Africa has the youngest population in the world, but at the same time, half of that population, the population of women, is still far from achieving its potential in participating in value creation. As we embark on this journey of economic empowerment for women SMEs in Tanzania, through the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth program, we are very optimistic that the impact will be significant, long-term, and will drive the growth of the economy.”
The President of Tanzania Bankers’ Association, Tuse Joune, thanked the African Development Bank and the African Guarantee Fund for introducing the initiative that will ensure the growth of women SMEs in Tanzania. “[AFAWA] demonstrates the true value of women to our economy. It is high time that we ensure innovative products that will be part of women SMEs’ growth, responding to all their needs,” she said.