THE AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) Group has launched a call for proposals for projects enhancing the viability and sustainability of women entrepreneurship enablers.
By this, it said women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, and cooperatives that advanced women’s entrepreneurship, could now apply for funding for innovative projects or programmes to bolster the skills of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned and run by women across Africa,
“Women business enablers are critical to creating a viable enabling environment in which women entrepreneurs can grow and create businesses that generate jobs for the continent. Through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, the Bank is committed to supporting enablers to strengthen the business and financial skills as well as wealth-creating capacity of their members,” said Esther Dassanou, manager of the programme, also known as AFAWA.
This has become critical because according to the Group, the enablers often faced challenges, such as long-term growth plans and lack of financing, which reduced their reach, impact and sustainability.
The bank will assess applicants’ track record in supporting women SMEs, innovation and strong development impact, as well as their capacity to mobilize other sources of funding.
Eligible organizations may request funding of between $100,000 and $250,000, provided through the Bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund. Applications must be received by midnight on 30 May 2021.
“This call for proposals is an opportunity for direct and concrete support for women entrepreneurship enablers to scale up their growth and impact, and advance women’s financial inclusion on the continent,” said Vanessa Moungar, Bank Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society.
Proposals from some countries that already align with the ongoing AFAWA Guarantee for Growth Programme pipeline are strongly encouraged to apply. These include Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia.
AFAWA aims to unlock $5 billion in financing for small and medium enterprises owned and managed by women by 2026.