Women’s entrepreneurship: the AfDB promises more financing by 2026 in Togo

18 04 2024 | 07:11Ines Magoum, Afrik21

In Togo, the financing gap for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run by women is in the region of 45 million dollars, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB). Through its AFAWA programme (Positive Financial Action for Women in Africa), the pan-African bank is committed to increasing access to finance for Togolese women-led SMEs by 2026, particularly those working towards sustainable development (MDGs).

This decision should accelerate women’s entrepreneurship in Togo. At the AFAWA (Positive Financial Action for Women in Africa) Finance Series conference held recently in the Togolese capital Lomé, organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF), a promise of funding was made to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run by women in this West African country. The financing, the amount of which was not specified, will be granted as part of the Afawa initiative, which aims to mobilise up to 3 billion dollars in financing for SMEs in Africa by 2026. This will be achieved by providing financial guarantees to financial institutions to mitigate the risks associated with loans.

The deployment of Afawa in Togo has several objectives, the main one being to reduce the financing gap for women-owned SMEs, estimated at around 45 million dollars according to the AfDB. Additional financing for women could enhance their contribution to the Togolese economy, which is expected to grow through the multiplication of economic activities, particularly those aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In addition, the aim of increasing funding for SMEs run by women in Togo is to promote the development of female leadership in the private sector. Today, barely 25% of public contracts are awarded to women and young people,” deplores Koffi Gani, Director of Cabinet for the Togolese Minister for Social Action, the Advancement of Women and Literacy.

The SMEs benefiting from AfDB financing in Togo will join the more than 7,000 women-run SMEs that have already benefited from the AFAWA programme in Africa since its launch in 2015. During the AFAWA Finance Séries Togo conference, specific training was also provided to 30 Togolese financial institutions to better understand the Afawa initiative and its guarantee mechanism. AFAWA is supported by the Women’s Enterprise Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as a number of G7 member states including France, Italy, Canada and Germany.