The African Development Bank (AfDB) has stated that by the end of 2021, the bank is expected to have provided close to $500 out of which $150 million that would be channelled to women in agriculture in Africa.

The multilateral institution stated that the fund would help women in agriculture partner public and private sector to develop alternative financial models to increase the ability of women farmers to access the financing and skills they need to grow sustainably.

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The bank  stated that, “Indeed, in sub-Saharan Africa, the financing gap for African women in agricultural value chains is estimated at $15.6 billion where women play a pivotal role in agriculture and agribusiness, and require more robust and responsive regulatory and policy frameworks for countries to benefit from their contributions.

“Providing access to finance for women-owned small and medium enterprises in Africa is an important component of the Bank’s strategy to establish a conducive business environment for women entrepreneurs to thrive.”

Through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, the bank has committed up to $5 billion to finance women’s businesses on the continent by 2026.

“This is already proving successful. For example, in Ghana a $20 million AFAWA Financing Climate-Resilient Agricultural Practices project is expected to benefit 400 women-led micro, small and medium enterprises through a line of credit from Ecobank Ghana. This support comes with technical assistance, and training in climate-resilient agricultural practices,“ AfDB stated,

During the pre-summit to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit in Rome, the bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford, stressed that closing the gender gap in economic opportunities on the continent was critical for its future.

Dunford participated in a panel session on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Food Systems. She was joined by Sabrina Dhowre Elba, International Fund for Agricultural Development Goodwill Ambassador and Dr. Kawinzi Muiu, Director of Gender, World Food Program.

Dunford reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to women’s empowerment in every sector, through its policies, such as the new Gender Strategy 2021-2025, and the Feed Africa Strategy, which prioritizes gender equality and sustainable outcomes to support all investment and sector dialogue actions.

“The bank will provide a road map for gender interventions in the next four years, focusing on the agriculture sector, where women have the highest entrepreneurial potential, “the vice president said.

The summit will take place in New York in September 2021 in conjunction with the UN General Assembly.