AfDB develops Index to aid women empowerment

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has developed the Women’s Financing Index to track African countries that give women priority in loan disbursement and ensure such nations benefit more from its financing.   

President, AfDBAkinwumi Adesina, explained that the new tool would be introduced to track the level of lending to women across the continent and to ensure women got the critical financial help they needed. 

The AfDB boss, who disclosed this at a public event held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, said, “WFI, which is 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.

“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 – aims to mobilise $3 billion to bridge the financing gap for women on the continent. 

Despite being at the forefront of economic activity on the continent, women in Africa are disproportionately disadvantaged, particularly those in conflict-ridden areas, who are 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 minimise post-harvesting losses, and acting as trade financing intermediaries. 

“We are committed to providing loans but we also grow with our clients,” he said. 

In a second panel, moderated by African Development Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, panellists discussed the “nexus of peace, security, environment and development.” 

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