By Desmond Davies, GNA London Bureau Chief
London, Aug 28,
GNA – Up to 10,000 women entrepreneurs in Africa are to benefit from £30
million UK aid, to help break down barriers, holding them back from starting
and growing businesses.
economic potential of women will boost African economies, trade and investment
opportunities and increase global prosperity, which is in the interests of the
UK and African countries,” the UK’s Department for International Development
(DfID) said in a statement.
It added that
giving women an equal role in the economy was “essential to sustained growth
and will help lift millions out of poverty”.
estimate that increasing economic equality globally could add US$12 trillion
(or 11 per cent) to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs in the world, women in a
number of African countries face greater barriers to starting their own
businesses than their male peers,” DfID said.
because women often find it harder to access further education, get business
loans, sign contracts and own property based on their gender.”
DfID said that
the £30 million would “incentivise African banks across the continent to lend
to women by reducing the costs, while providing expert training to female entrepreneurs
in essential skills to make their businesses a success”.
research, women reinvest up to 90 per cent of their income in the education,
health and nutrition of their family and community, compared to 40 per cent for
“This means that
investing in female-led businesses can transform societies as well as women’s
lives,” DfID said.
The £30 million
will go to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme
run by the African Development Bank.
will provide up to 10,000 budding female entrepreneurs with essential training
and mentoring to help them better manage their businesses, including marketing,
financial and business planning.
It will enter
partnerships with up to 30 banks across Africa, helping to bring down the cost
of lending to thousands of women.
Development Secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “Every woman deserves the same
opportunities as her male peers to start and build a business.
“But this is
not just about equal opportunities.
down barriers and unleashing the potential of women across Africa, UK aid is
supporting the private sector to thrive, helping nations across the continent
to increase economic growth and shape their own future beyond aid.
in the economic empowerment of African women, we are investing in ending
poverty, and in developing Britain’s trading partners of the future,” Mr Sharma
As the UK
negotiates its way out of the European Union, the government is looking to
extending trade and investment links with other parts of the world.
the UK government said it aimed to be the biggest G7 investor in Africa by
UK-Africa Investment Summit in London next year hopes to build on the UK’s
existing partnerships with African nations to “create mutual trade and
The Summit will
bring together businesses, governments and international organisations “to
strengthen the partnership between the UK and Africa and help generate billions
of pounds of opportunities for both British and African businesses”.