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Financing gap for women in agriculture in Africa hits $15.6 billion - AfDB

Published 03 Aug,2021 via The Nation - The African Development Bank (AfDB) said the financing gap for women in Africa stands at $15.6billion. It warned of the impact of gender inequality on food system in the continent.

Its Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, dropped the hint during the pre-summit to the United Nations (UN) food systems summit.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, the financing gap for African women in agricultural value chains is estimated at $15.6 billion,” she said. The bank, however, said it will provide $150 million to support women in the agriculture sector before the close of the year in demonstration of its commitment to closing the gap.

She said: “By the end of 2021, the bank is expected to have provided close to $500 million, of which $150 million will benefit women in the agriculture sector, and to work with public and private sector partners to develop alternative financial models to increase the ability of women farmers to access the financing and skills they need to grow sustainably.

“Closing gaps in economic opportunities is not only essential for women’s empowerment but African economies, particularly for GDP (gross domestic product) growth, poverty reduction, and structural transformation for sustainable development.”

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 prioritises gender equality and sustainable outcomes.

According to her, AfDB 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.

She also said providing access to finance for women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa is an important component of the bank’s strategy to establish a conducive business environment for women entrepreneurs to thrive.

The bank explained that 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.

The UN food systems summit is scheduled for New York in September.

Last month, AfDB also approved a $50 million loan facility to First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to support local enterprises and women-led businesses.

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Lucas Ajanaku