The President, African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has said African countries that give women a priority in loan disbursement will benefit more from its financing.
Adesina said a new tool to track the level of lending to women across the continent was being developed and would be important for ensuring women got the critical financial help they needed.
He spoke at a public event held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, before the start of panel discussions organised by the Initiative for Global Development in New York. The theme of the event was ‘Empowering women in conflict zones in Africa.’
“The Women’s Financing Index, currently under development, will rate banks and financial institutions who apply for loans from the African Development Bank, against the amounts they have lent or are lending to women,” he said.
He added that, “Institutions will be rated by their development impact: The rate and volume at which they lend to women. Top institutions will be rewarded with preferential financing terms from the African Development Bank.”
The Bank, through its AFAWA, initiative – Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa – aimed to mobilise $3bn to bridge the financing gap for women on the continent.
Despite being at the forefront of economic activity on the continent, women in Africa were disproportionately disadvantaged, particularly those in conflict-ridden areas, who were three times less likely to go to school, have less access to resources and justice, and were unable to obtain funding for businesses, farming and other commercial ventures.
In the first panel moderated by former French Minister of State for Human Rights, Ambassador Rama Yade; chief economist of Afreximbank, Dr Hippolyte Fofack, said its vision to promote intra-African trade was directly tied to the theme of providing women with credit.
“Access to finance is at the root of development initiatives. That is why Afreximbank was created,” Fofack said.
He added that Afreximbank’s top goals included supporting African women in agri-processing to minimize post-harvesting losses, and acting as trade financing intermediaries.