In Kigali, the African Development Bank has kicked off its World Summit on Gender with appeals to improve women’s access to financial resources they need to grow businesses and boost development.
And with that, they received an endorsement from AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina.
“When women borrow, they always pay back. And 80 percent of them manage to settle their debts each time without any problem,” he said in a welcome address. “Where is the risk? The problem is the rigidity of banks and prejudices. We have to get out of it to give women access to funding.”
His appeal was echoed in a session that saw Senegalese minister Salimata Diop Dieng and Joséphine Anan-Ankomah of the EcoBank Group appeal for more opportunity for women. They were joined by Kristine Ngiriye, an entrepreneur and champion of African women in business who said the access problem for women arises over and over.
“It is important for financial institutions to support initiatives from women. They have market gardening perimeters, agricultural products to transform,” said Dieng, who oversees Senegal’s Women, Family and Gender initiatives. “They create startups in the areas of innovation. However, they lack resources, guarantee, and procedures to access loans are complicated.”
The summit, organized by AfDB and the Rwandan government, is set to run through Wednesday. In addition to a focus on financing and the regulatory and institutional environments, it seeks to boost women’s participation and voices. To that end, the launch of a new online platform called “50 Million African Women Speak” is being held in conjunction with the summit.
The platform is available at www.womenconnect.org.