By Francis Ameyibor, GNA
Accra, Aug. 30, GNA – Mr Felix A. Bikpo, Chief Executive Officer of the African Guarantee Funds (AGF) has applauded the Group of seven (G7) leadership for recognizing the importance of women as the backbone of Africa’s growth.
Mr Bikpo’s commendation comes on the back of the just ended G7 Summit held in Biarritz through which the G7 leaders led by President Emmanuel Macron of France committed to support the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative with more than USD200M.
While speaking at the press conference on the AFAWA programme, President Macron stated, “I am particularly proud, as the current G7 President, that the programme we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organisation, the African Development Bank, which works with African Guarantee Fund and a network of African banks”.
AFAWA which is a joint initiative of the African Development Bank and AGF is a risk-sharing facility that will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs to adequately prepare them for easier access to finance.
In a document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday by AGF, Mr Bikpo said, “AGF’s strategy recognizes women as a great pillar of the development of African economies and has always focused on increasing access to finance for women.
The AGF CEO explained that 30 per cent of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) supported by the Fund were owned or led by women.
He said “through AFAWA, our role in financing women will be reinforced to enable even more women fully play their role as drivers of economic growth through the SMEs they own or lead has acknowledged AFDB for spearheading the initiative”.
He said AGF contributes to the promotion of economic development in Africa through two lines of interventions: Provision of partial guarantees to financial institutions to facilitate access to finance for SMEs through Loan Guarantees, Resource Mobilization Guarantees and Equity Guarantees.
The other line of intervention is through the provision of Capacity Development support to the Partner Financial Institutions to improve their ability to properly assess SME risks and to build their capacity for easier access to finance.
AGF was founded by the government of Denmark through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the government of Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Other shareholders include: Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Nordic Development Fund (NDF), Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and KfW Development Bank (KfW).
AFDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina hailed AGF’s exceptional rating and extensive network of African financial institutions as a major pillar of success for AFAWA.
He emphasized that the initiative will go a long way in reducing the USD42 billion financing gap between men and women in Africa.