The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledge a support of $150 million to women in the agriculture sector before the end of this year.
Beth Dunford, AfDB vice-president for agriculture, human and social development, revealed this at the pre-summit to the 2021 United Nations (UN) food systems summit.
Dunford reaffirmed the institution’s commitment to closing the financing gap for women and warned of the impact of gender inequality on food systems in Africa.
“Closing gaps in economic opportunities is not only essential for women’s empowerment but African economies, particularly for GDP growth, poverty reduction, and structural transformation for sustainable development,” she said.
Dunford reiterated 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.
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 that an important component of the bank’s strategy is providing access to finance for women-owned small and medium enterprises in Africa in order to establish a conducive business environment for women entrepreneurs to thrive.
“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,” she added.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, the financing gap for African women in agricultural value chains is estimated at $15.6 billion.”
It 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 to hold in New York in September 2021.
In July, AfDB also approved a $50 million loan facility to First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to support local enterprises and women-led businesses.