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Nigeria: African Development Bank approves $210 million financing for Transmission Expansion Project
November 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
Wale Shonibare, AFDB Acting Vice-President for Power & Energy
Wale Shonibare, AFDB Acting Vice-President for Power & Energy

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $210 million financing package to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the Nigeria Transmission Expansion Project (NTEP1), which seeks to rehabilitate and upgrade the nation’s power lines and improve distribution and supply. 

The project, which will run across the states of Kano, Kaduna, Delta, Edo, Anambra, Imo, and Abia, will improve the capacity and reliability of the Nigerian transmission grid where it is most constrained. Executed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria), NTEP1 is part of a $1.6 billion Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP).

“Nigerians and their businesses spend $14 billion annually on inefficient and expensive petrol or diesel-powered generators. This project will contribute significantly to the reduction of Nigeria’s power deficit, decrease air and noise pollution and reduce the cost of doing business,” Ebrima Faal, the Bank’s Senior Director for Nigeria, said.

The Bank’s financing, comprising a $160 million loan, and an additional $50 million loan from the Africa Growing Together Fund, will support construction of 330kV double circuit quad transmission lines and substations across the country. The project will upgrade existing 263 km of 330kV lines, while adding an additional 204 KM of new lines to increase TCN’s wheeling capacity, stabilize the grid and reduce transmission losses.
Upon completion, the project will significantly improve Nigeria’s electricity supply, and directly impact the economy, industries, businesses and the quality of life of Nigerians.

The project will also reduce the use of small-scale diesel generators and therefore contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions by saving approximately 11,460ktCO2 per year. The project will create about 2,000 direct jobs- 1,500 during construction and 500 during operations – especially for youth: 30% of these jobs are expected to be taken by women.  By increasing electricity supplies to Small and Medium Enterprises, the project will foster the creation of additional indirect jobs.

Wale Shonibare, the Bank’s Acting Vice-President for Power & Energy said implementation of the project would increase evacuation capacity from the south of the country towards the north, where power supply is limited.   “NTEP1 will increase the grid transmission stability and capacity, and reduce the amount of stranded power, whilst improving power export and regional power system integration to the West African Power pool, especially through Niger and Benin interconnections,” he said.

Highlighting the project’s contribution to regional integration efforts, Batchi Baldeh, the Bank’s Director for Power Systems Development said it would benefit from the Bank’s expertise and proven track record in leading the development of power grids across the continent, notably in West Africa, with many successful operations supporting the implementation of interconnectors. “In line with our work to improve utility performance, NTEP1 will substantially strengthen the capacity of TCN with regards to the development of energy infrastructure projects, especially the adoption of modern and more efficient transmission technologies, which are most required in Nigeria for network improvements,” said Baldeh.

NTEP-1 is part of the Bank’s response to the power sector crisis in Nigeria and is aligned with the government’s strategic plans articulated in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) and Power Sector Recovery Programme. The project also aligns with the Bank’s High 5 priority to ‘Light up and Power Africa” and the New Deal on Energy in Africa.

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Guinea-Bissau: African Development Bank presents the Lusophone Compact to private sector at Economic Forum
November 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank presented the Lusophone Compact to the private sector in Guinea-Bissau last month, during an event at the national Economic Forum.

The Lusophone Compact, a financing platform involving the African Development Bank, Portugal, and the six Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa (PALOPs), provides risk mitigation, investment products and technical assistance to accelerate private sector development in Lusophone African countries (Angola, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe).

About 100 participants, including government representatives, international partners, local and foreign investors, attended the government-sponsored event, which was also attended by Guinea-Bissau Minister of Economy and Finance Geraldo Martins, and Antonio de Carvalho, Portuguese Ambassador to Guinea Bissau.

Opening the session, Martins described the occasion as “an important event to ensure that local stakeholders have a full understanding of the tools available.” He told attendees that the event followed the signing of the Lusophone Compact on  26 July 2019, in the presence of Teresa Ribeiro, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal.

Ambassor de Carvalho, highlighted the importance of the Compact to strengthen the Lusophone cooperation in Africa, mentioning the commercial and risk mitigation garantees to be offered by Portugal.  

Joel Muzima, Bank principal country economist for the Bank, highlighted the positive partnership between the Bank and the Government of Guinea-Bissaua, reflected by the growing portfolio in areas of governance, agriculture and infrastructure development.  He urged the private sector to present bankable projects to take advantage of the Lusophone Compact and leverage financial resources for development. 

Projects eligible under the Compact are expected to align with the Bank’s development priorities, relevant country strategy papers and national development plans and involve the host country and at least two other Compact signatories. Focus will primary be on renewable energies, agribusiness and agricultural value chains, water and sanitation, infrastructures, tourism, financing and ICT.

There is also the provision for technical assistance projects to accelerate private sector and PPP growth.  In Guinea-Bissau and elsewhere, project preparation has been identified as one of the main impediments to making projects bankable.

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Hola, Madrid! African Development Bank takes the continent’s climate agenda to COP25 in Spain
November 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Bank is playing a leading role in guiding progress on climate change on the continent. The Bank has doubled its total climate change commitment to $25 billion between 2020 and 2025.

The African Development Bank will on Monday kick off a campaign to present the continent’s case at the world’s leading climate change conference.

The 25th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) comes at a crucial time for the globe and Africa in particular. In recent years, rising temperatures have wreaked havoc with weather patterns, leading to suffocating heat and devastating storms. In Africa, the climate has exacerbated food shortages and destroyed infrastructure.

African countries know all too well the risks posed by climate change, said Wale Shonibare, the Bank’s Acting Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth. He cited the devastating impact of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and the Comoros earlier this year.

“However, Africa also offers climate smart investment opportunities – from country-led innovation centers, to transformative renewable energy initiatives. For example, this year, the Bank approved financing for the first on-grid solar power public-private partnership in Chad, under the Desert to Power initiative,” Shonibare said.

Projects like Desert to Power will be highlighted at COP 25, which will from 2 to 13 December bring together leaders and institutions from 196 nations plus the European Union, who have signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

At the heart of the matter are the Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, which form part of the landmark Paris Agreement, signed in 2015 during COP21 in the French capital. The NDCs are specific climate change targets that each country must set.

The Paris Agreement has been ratified by 51 out of 54 African countries. It binds countries to cutting carbon emissions to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by more than 2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain it within 1.5°C.

Climate finance is another issue that will top the agenda at COP25 in Madrid.

“2020 is a critical year in securing adequate resources for African countries to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, clarity and transparency on global climate finance access is essential to deliver climate action faster and at scale,” said Anthony Nyong, Director Climate Change and Green Growth Department at the African Development Bank.

The African Development Bank is joining the other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) in a pavilion to showcase the joint commitment to combatting climate change. The Bank will participate in several panel discussions at COP25, and will support the advocacy efforts of its regional member countries. The Bank is playing a leading role in guiding progress on climate change on the continent. Some of its achievements are:

  • More than 50% of 2019 climate finance allocated to adaptation projects.
  • 85% of investments are screened for climate risk and for greenhouse gas emissions. The Bank’s ambition is to screen all projects by 2020.
  • By next year, 40% of the Bank’s own investments will be dedicated to climate finance.
  • The Bank has doubled its total climate change commitment to $25 billion between 2020 and 2025, with more than half of it going to adaptation.

Read more here on the African Development Bank’s role at COP25 or follow us for updates on

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2019 Global Gender Summit marks concrete gains and actionable goals to surge ahead on gender equality
November 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

Highlights of the Summit include the launch of:

  • AFAWA risk-sharing facility to de-risk lending to women
  • 50 Million African Women Speak, a Pan-African networking platform
  • Joint UNECA-African Development bank Gender index

“We’ve known it from the beginning that equality and women’s empowerment is the true way for sustainable development,” Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Solina Nyirahabimana told reporters at a 2019 Global Gender Summit press conference on Tuesday.

“During this past 25 years, we have been concentrating on gender equality, starting by creating a conducive environment, uprooting, revising, and abolishing discriminative laws. We’ve worked tirelessly to have women included in the financial sector,” Nyirahabimana said.

“When you don’t understand women, you can’t serve them.”

More than 1,200 delegates are in Kigali, Rwanda for the 2019 Global Gender Summit including distinguished guests such as the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame; the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde; the African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the First Ladies of Rwanda and Kenya. Also in attending are representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad, and the King of Morocco and gender ministers from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

African Development Bank Group Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, told journalists that much of Summit conversation centered around growing awareness that women need to be part of the development solution.  “Women are a force to be unleashed and supported to ensure that they can really do their part in development in Africa. Women are already such a hugely important part of the development process,” she said.

Key highlights from the 2019 Global Gender Summit include the:

  • Launch of the risk-sharing facility for the Bank-led Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa, or AFAWA, programme – to support the program’s three-pronged approach, which seeks to quickly close the gender gap by facilitating access to finance, providing technical assistance and creating an enabling business environment for women-led businesses to thrive.
  •  50 Million African Women Speak – a new Pan-African networking platform and web and mobile-based application to directly connect 50 million African women entrepreneurs. The platform links women to financial institutions and provides networking opportunities across Africa.
  • The joint United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)-African Development Bank Africa Gender Index – a report that assesses African countries on gender equality.
  • Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and mobile app – the first ever digital B2B and B2C pan-African networking platform, dedicated to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the African textile, apparel and accessories industries.

Also speaking at the press conference marking the close of the Summit’s multilateral development bank segment, the Chairperson of the Multilateral Development Banks’ Gender working group Chairperson, Sonomi Tanaka, said summit discussions were productive and some African countries are carrying out good practices. However, Tanaka noted the critical importance of data in development policies working toward gender equality. “Again and again, this is something that is coming up. This lack of data comes up across any topic…and data is one area we need to continue to focus on,” she said.

Elaborating on the data challenge, Blanke said, “There is a dearth of data on these issues. The bottom line is if we don’t measure it, you don’t do it. If you don’t measure, it means you don’t care about it – and we care about it.”

This Tuesday press conference was the latest in a series of Global Gender Summit activities that will see delegates attend Summit partner-organized workshops, trainings and technical sessions on Wednesday. The Global Gender Summit is organized by The African Development Bank, with other multilateral development bank partners. The biennial event brings together leaders from government, development institutions, the private sector, civil society, and academia.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Summit’s conversations and dialogue focuses on scaling up innovative financing, enabling legal, regulatory, and institutional environments; and securing women’s participation and voices.

Commenting on the Summit outcome Blanke noted: “The Summit has been all about doing. Doing more and doing it fast.”

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Global Gender Summit 2019: “Put prejudice behind us and give women access to finance,” says Akinwumi Adesina
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has called for greater access to finance for African women when he addressed the inaugural session of the Global Gender Summit.

“When women borrow, they always repay. And 90% of them repay their loans without the least problem. So, where is the risk? The problem is prejudice and the banks’ lack of flexibility. We must leave this behind to allow women access to financing,” President Adesina urged.

The session headed “Unlocking women’s access to finance in Africa” had a panel of high-level speakers, including Salimata Diop Dieng, the Senegalese Minister of Women, Family and Gender; Andrew Temu, President of the African Guarantee Fund; Kennedy Uzoka, President and CEO of United Bank of Africa (UBA); Joséphine Anan-Ankomah, CEO of Ecobank Group; and Christine Ngiriye, an entrepreneur.

Salimata Diop Deng said, “It is important that financial institutions support initiatives from women. They have the market gardens and produce to process. They create start-ups in innovative areas. But they lack resources and collateral, and the procedures for accessing loans are complicated. These women have relatively moderate finance needs, just enough to create projects and jobs. They need support from the private sector and the banks to help them weave their way into the economy.”

Andrew Temu advocated “holding discussions with countries to improve the business environment. What is especially needed is legislation that reassures the banks. There are a number of actors, banks, investors, entrepreneurs and clients operating within the economic market. Everyone needs to be in communication to address the risks.”

For Anan-Ankomah, ECOBANK is already making big strides to gender parity. The pan-African bank has signed up to the African Union gender parity principle of 50/50. “Currently we are at 46% and out of that, 30% of those women are in senior management positions,” she said.

Ngiriye said that she had seen little change in nearly 30 years: “The problem that comes up again and again is that of collateral.”

According to Adesina the financial sector had a responsibility to the women of Africa. And he made an announcement: “From now on, we shall be grading every African financial institution for how well it helps women. Every financial ecosystem must evolve to support women. And we are going to put pressure on the guarantee banks.”

The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.

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2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa: Technology and innovation will help speed up removal of land sector corruption in Africa – African Development Bank
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

African countries must act faster to purge corruption in the land sector by harnessing technology and innovation, African Development Bank Senior Vice President Charles Boamah urged on Monday.

Boamah, who was speaking to policymakers and stakeholders at a conference on Land Policy in Africa in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, also called for the deployment of more financial and human resources to land policy development, “especially in rural areas and among the most vulnerable, including women.”

The biennial conference, organized by the Land Policy Centre, provides a central platform for African stakeholders to network and deepen their commitment to land policy development, implementation and monitoring, through access to knowledge and evidence-based policymaking.

This year’s dialogue, hosted by the African Development Bank, is on the theme: “Winning the Fight against corruption in the Land sector: Sustainable pathways for Africa’s transformation”.

According to globally, one in five persons has paid a bribe for a land service. In Africa, every client of a land administration service has paid a bribe.

“This corruption takes many forms — bribery or illicit land transactions is just one example. Land developers and speculators specifically target countries with weak governance systems. Local powerful elites are also more likely to manipulate such systems to serve narrow ends not to benefit the public,” Boamah noted.

The African Development Bank is committed to working with its partners to improve governance in land administration as part of efforts to boost agriculture production. Two of its key initiatives- the , have demonstrated innovation in this area.

Agriculture remains the backbone of many African economies. But sound land policy and administration are needed to bring it in line with 21st-century practice, Boamah said.

The TAAT program has worked with 30 seed companies to produce 27,000 metric tonnes of drought-resistant maize seeds. By the end of 2018, more than 1.6 million farmers had planted these seeds.

Connect Africa initiative — a $55 billion global partnership to bridge major gaps in ICT infrastructure across the continent — is allowing farmers to use digital technology to access prices and services like mobile banking.

Ivorian Justice Minister Sansan Kambile called on African states to prioritise land tenure security as a development objective.

“Without land tenure security, and the various implications, no development can be sustainable. It is a collective responsibility which we must pursue to leave a worthy legacy for future generations” he said.

Kambile said the Ivorian government is keen to see workable outcomes from the Abidjan meetings for adoption into its land administration system.

In her welcome remarks, Sacko Correia, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy at the African Union Commission, noted that corruption in the land sector has undermined cohesiveness and led to conflicts on the continent.

“For us to win the fight against corruption, we must ensure that land is equitably distributed and accessed by all, most especially by women, youth and other vulnerable groups,” she said, noting that although women contribute significantly to agriculture production in Africa, they enjoy less rights to land.

She called on African governments to ensure that land management processes are transparent, accountable, efficient and responsive to the new challenges of climate change, natural disasters and environmental degradation.

Stephen Karingi, Director, Private Sector Development and Finance, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said an effective land governance will help reduce cost of doing business in Africa and help contribute immensely to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.

This year’s theme is aligned to the African Union’s declaration of 2018 as Africa’s Anti-Corruption Year. The continental body identifies corruption as a key factor hampering efforts to promote governance, socio-economic transformation, peace and security.

The conference will run from 25th to 29th November.

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First ladies panel seeks urgent policies to translate Africa’s demographic dividend into viable potential
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

– “What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda

“History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now,” Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

“Investments in gender equality are critical to realizing demographic dividend, but we need to ensure that women have the tools to overcome the barriers they face,” First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame told participants at a panel at the Global Gender Summit in Kigali on Monday.

The panel, made up of First Ladies Kagame, Margaret Kenyatta, ministers and development experts, observed that too many women and girls still face barriers to basic rights, particularly access to labour market opportunities.

Rwanda’s First Lady recalled the role women played following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, where a number of families were wiped out, with women in many cases being the ones catering for families.

“What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” she added.

She described the Summit as an important platform to highlight issues of women equality.

Rwanda has implemented gender several inclusive programs, which has enhanced economic equality in a country where women political participation has grown to 61% percent.

First Lady Kenyatta called for the removal of institutional barriers to accelerate women’s economic empowerment, “It has become urgent for Africa to translate its demographic dividend into viable potential.”

“This is the spirit of Africa’s vision to accelerate its path to sustainable socio-economic development. Our collective commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ is a new chapter in our struggle towards achieving gender equality.”

The panel heard that impediments to gender equality include lack of access to credit, low representation in decision making positions, lack of control over productive land and lack of financial control to make spending decisions on education and health.

Minister of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and Family Jamila El Moussali of Morocco,

shared experiences from Morocco where policies have been introduced to increase women’s political and economic participation.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, called on stakeholders to come together to leverage each other’s strengths “translate women dreams into reality. History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now.”

The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.

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Getting women in the driver’s seat of Africa’s agribusiness revolution
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

More African female agripreneurs must be supported to grow and progressively transition into the business segments of agricultural value chains which are most profitable

By Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya*

Monica Musonda, CEO of Zambian food processing company Java Foods ,  certainly faced hurdles in her rise to the top, but she overcame them.

“Although the barriers to entry for women can be frustrating, they are often basic and relatively easy to resolve,” she said, playing down her struggles. “My climb up the agribusiness ladder has been challenging but definitely worthwhile.”

Musonda, whose company produces affordable and nutritious food snacks made from local ingredients, is one of just a handful of female agripreneurs who have successfully broken through the proverbial glass ceiling in Africa’s agribusiness  industry.

Women are the backbone of Africa’s agricultural sector. From farm to fork, African women are players along the entire agricultural value chain, be it as farmers, livestock breeders, processors, traders, workers, entrepreneurs or consumers. While their influence on the continent’s growing agribusiness industry is undeniable, more solutions are needed to address the gender-specific challenges they face to boost their participation.

The average African woman is a budding entrepreneur either by choice or by circumstance. According to the  Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report 2016/17 , the continent has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, with one in four women starting or managing a business. The agribusiness industry is often the natural focus of this entrepreneurial drive.

Across the continent, women dominate as primary processors post-harvest, as traders with bustling market stalls, as owners of fast food restaurants and with increasingly frequency as manufacturers of packaged ready-to-eat food products. Yet despite this dynamism, female-led agribusinesses tend to remain small, fragmented and informal in nature. They struggle to sustain and scale-up their agribusinesses into well-organized profitable enterprises.

Admittedly, the challenging business environment in many African countries including poor infrastructure and unreliable legal and regulatory systems affects all business activities of both men and women. However, in addition women-led businesses must also grapple with a number of gender-specific constraints, inhibiting their expansion into more lucrative market segments.

Firstly, African women often lack the technical know-how.  Despite the gains in female education on the continent, highly productive agribusinesses require specialized vocational and technical skills in fields such as food safety, food conservation, packaging and product certification which many African women do not readily possess.

Access to finance is the most frequently cited obstacle by African SMEs. Women entrepreneurs face multiple difficulties in securing funding mainly due to lack of collateral in the form of land and other tangible assets and a high-risk perception. According to the African Development Bank, an estimated $42 billion financing gap exists for African women across business value chains, including $15.6 billion in agriculture alone. Women are forced to rely on personal savings and family loans which are rarely enough to fund their businesses to scale.

Thirdly, socio-cultural barriers and stereotypes persist. African women remain the primary caregivers in families meaning that managing those responsibilities while growing a thriving business can become a difficult balancing act.

Over the last two decades, many governments and development institutions have rolled out programs to promote access to finance, agricultural inputs and provide technical support and business training to female agripreneurs. The African Development Bank recently set up the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) , a bold pan-African initiative to bridge the financing gap facing women. It adopts a three-pronged approach centered on improving access to finance, providing technical assistance and strengthening the enabling environment.

It often takes very little to make a difference. The capital injection required by the majority of female led SME agribusinesses on the continent is typically less than $50,000. And women have consistently proven to be more credit-worthy than men, usually paying back loans within agreed timeframes. Successful solutions by women for women such as microfinance and saving groups, peer-to-peer training and information sharing should also be reinforced and taken to scale.

More of such initiatives are urgently needed across the continent. Solutions must be based on in-depth engagement with the women business owners themselves to properly understand their frustrations and needs. Tailored programs designed to specifically address these pain points are critical. The Global Gender Summit  is a timely opportunity to drive this forward.

Women are central for Africa’s agricultural transformation to be successful, sustainable and inclusive. More African female agripreneurs must be supported to grow and progressively transition into the business segments of agricultural value chains which are most profitable. It has been proven time and time again that when African women thrive the entire society shares in those dividends.

*Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya are Principal Economist and Manager, respectively, in the Agribusiness Development Division of the African Development Bank.


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Gender equality: It’s time for disruption, time to shatter the status quo, we can’t afford to wait!
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2019/ — By Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

If you are a gender champion, then you are familiar with the discussions around the glass cliff.  The story of women eager to defy the odds, accepting leadership roles at times of crisis, when the chance of failure is the highest. The truth is that many bold glass cliff climbers have succeeded without falling off.

Two of such champions come to my mind: the former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcah and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF.

Mulcah, Ishmael and likeminded agents of change have already shattered the status quo. So, when the first Global Gender Summit held in Africa kicks off on November 25th in Kigali, Rwanda, the international community will hurtle towards heeding the calls to dismantle barriers to women’s full participation and advancement economic development on the continent.

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report. One in four women globally who start in a business come from Africa (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor).

The Summit, organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender, will be held in Africa for the first time ever, from the 25th to 27th November 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit is hosted by the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Global Gender Summit will share best practices and seek innovative solutions that can be harnessed to empower women and girls in Africa and around the world.

We are excited to be bringing the world to Rwanda, a country that has set a strong example when it comes to promoting women’s rights and representation.

Rwanda was the first country in the world with a female majority in parliament, currently at 67.5 %, following October parliamentary polls. Out of a total parliamentary membership of 80, women occupy 54 seats. This feat puts the nation ahead of even the most developed nations.

From the massive financing gap for women-led enterprises, inadequate data, laws and cultural norms that negatively affect women, to a lack of representation in business and politics, the challenges are great.

But the opportunities are there too.

Discussions will focus on the main barriers to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, namely: scaling up innovative financing, fostering an enabling environment and ensuring women’s participation and voices. Sectors to be addressed will include climate change, the digital revolution, private sector and human capital and productive employment.

In Africa, women-led enterprises face a whopping $42 billion financing gap. One of the Bank’s flagship gender-focused projects is its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), which seeks to accelerate growth and employment creation across African economies, by closing the financing gap for women.

Over the next 5 years, AFAWA is expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity-building development, access to finance as well as policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.

Our Fashionomics Africa initiative supports the African textiles and fashion industries by building the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile and clothing sector, especially those run by women and youth. By using technology as a driver for the development of skills and capacity in Africa’s creative industries, the African Development Bank aims to stimulate job creation on the continent. At the summit, we will unveil an innovative online marketplace for designers across the continent.

That’s just some of the exciting news. We will use the opportunity of the Global Gender Summit to launch a number of initiatives to dramatically transform the landscape of access to finance for women across the continent.

These include the Africa Gender Index- a joint African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) report that assesses African countries on gender equality.


The launch of the AFAWA/AGF Risk Sharing Facility, which will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial, guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs.

As well as these continent-wide initiatives, we at the African Development Bank understand that change begins at home. That is why in 2018, the Bank rolled out its gender marker system to process, monitor, and promote gender mainstreaming in all its operations, with gender specialists as part of project teams and Bank operations.

By the end of last year, 40% of public sector Bank operations had been organised under the gender marker system, a major shift in the Bank’s way of doing business and commitment to gender mainstreaming.

We continue to support and build the individual power of girls and women across the countries we work in and never has the time been more urgent.

We expect the Global Gender Summit, to be a milestone event in the empowerment of women in Africa and beyond.  See you there.
* This year’s Global Gender Summit, is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

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2019 conference on land policy in Africa: why it matters for the continent
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Cosmas Milton Ochieng *

Ochieng
Ochieng
The theme of this year’s Conference on Land Policy in Africa is “Winning the fight against corruption in the land sector in Africa
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2019/ — Cosmas Milton Ochieng, an expert in natural resource governance and economic development in Africa, is the Director of the African Natural Resource Centre at the African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org).

In collaboration with the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank will host the 3rd Edition of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa in Abidjan from 25 to 29 November 2019.

In this interview, Ochieng shares key insights into why the conference matters for Africa.

Why does the 2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa matter?

This conference matters for Africa because land is central to social, economic and political development in Africa. Land in Africa is not simply an economic or an environmental asset. It is also a social and cultural resource. It was at the heart of many anti-colonial movements on the continent. It remains an important factor in the construction of social identity and the organization of the religious, cultural and economic lives of many African communities.

Africa is home to 60 percent of the world’s unutilized but potentially available cropland. In 30 years, about half the world’s agricultural land will come from Africa. How Africa manages its land is therefore critical to its future social, economic and environmental well-being.

This conference explores the ways in which Africa can harness its land resources for its accelerated sustainable development.

What is the role of the African Development Bank and how can it help enhance transparency and accountability in land governance?

The African Development Bank is a co-founding anchor of the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC). The ALPC is a joint initiative of the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).  The ALPC facilitates and coordinates the implementation of policy goals outlined in the AU Agenda on Land. The biennial land conference is one of the flagship activities of the ALPC.

In addition to its technical support to the ALPC, the African Development Bank supports the implementation of the African Union Agenda on sound land administration, management and governance, including transparency and accountability through the work of its various departments.

The African Development Bank, through its Ten-year Strategy (2013-2022) and its High 5 priorities, invests in its regional member countries to help maximize development outcomes derived from land.

The Bank also provides independent advice and technical assistance to countries to ensure sustainable development and management of land.

For instance, the African Natural Resources Centre at the Bank generates knowledge and provides institutional capacity building and strategic guidance on land administration and governance, investment and planning.  Over the last five years, the African Natural Resources Centre has worked very closely with the government of Liberia to help the build capacity of the Liberia Land Commission, and to help review the National Land Rights Policy and the  Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism. In Togo, the African Natural Resources Centre worked with the government to help facilitate a national dialogue on the country’s draft land policy and codes.

In Botswana, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria,  Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, the African Natural Resources Centre has conducted studies aimed at informing the review of land tenure systems.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Natural Resources Centre has just initiated a pilot project on Farmer Registration and Land Digitalization (FRLD). The Farmer Registration and Land Digitalization Model was developed by the Bank’s own Statistics Department and seeks to enhance land registration, transparency and accountability.


How does the theme of the conference align with the African Union Declaration of 2018 as Africa’s Anti-Corruption Year?

The theme of this year’s Conference on Land Policy in Africa is “Winning the fight against corruption in the land sector in Africa”. This theme supports the AU designation of 2018 as the year of anti-corruption.

This theme also highlights the Bank’s commitment to sound governance, transparency and accountability in African natural resource governance and is consistent with the Bank’s governance policy and work on combating corruption and illicit trade in the African natural resource sector.

What are the expectations for this year’s conference?

This year’s conference seeks to enhance commitment to capacity strengthening for land policy development and administration in Africa through improved access to knowledge on combatting corruption in the land sector. The conference also seeks to enhance partnerships and networks and to mobilize resources for promoting good governance in the African land sector.
*AFDB
 

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Global Gender Summit 2019: African leaders take on the responsibility to urgently close the gender gap
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver but we can deliver differently” – President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

‘We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

“This discrimination is political, economic and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially.’ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

‘ A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group

The 2019 Global Gender Summit, the first to be held on the continent, kicked off on Monday with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action.

Africa’s only female President, Sahle-Work Zewde  of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia’s parliament is one of the only two on the continent with over 50% gender parity in seats, and women currently hold key ministerial roles in defense and national security for the first time. Despite her own country’s huge advances, however, the work has just started, she said.

Zewde was speaking during the opening plenary of the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), bringing together leaders from government, development institutions, private sector, civil society, and academia.

The Summit is taking place in Kigali Rwanda from 25th to November 27th.

“There is good momentum for women and African women, but the work has just started…‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver, but we can deliver differently,” President Zewde said.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who officially opened the Summit, described gender equality as “real commonsense.”  Rwanda leads the word in gender representation in parliament with 61% of its parliamentarians being women — the highest in the world. In addition, half of all ministerial positions are held by women, just like in Ethiopia.

“We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do…made investments to ensure that women are at the center of development. We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Kagame said.

Echoing their sentiments, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.

“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns…This discrimination is political, economic, and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially…not to take (gender) into account is a real waste.”

In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially. The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. And women, who are the majority of farmers, face a financing gap of close to $16 billion.

“The challenges are not just about gender. They are about under-representation and lack of empowerment of women,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ he added.

The African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). AFAWA aims to mobilize $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa. G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of AFAWA during the summit in August.

Welcoming the conference participants, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Soline Nyirahabimana, said the Kigali Conference center was set to glow orange in honor of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days kick off on November 25th, each year, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs until December 10th.

The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Summit runs from 25th to 27th of November under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’

‘The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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Africa Investment Forum 2019 – Promises made, promises kept: Champions share why investments benefit women
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
We are looking at the value chain of businesses and asking how do we support women across the value chain…from the factory floor all the way to the boardroom? – Tokunboh Ishmael
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 18, 2019/ — 60% of Mara phones’ 400-450 employees are women: This is why our quality is better than anyone else’s – Ashsish Thakkar; We are looking at the value chain of businesses and asking how do we support women across the value chain…from the factory floor all the way to the boardroom? – Tokunboh Ishmael

Challenged a few years ago at an investment forum about the number of women-owned businesses she invested in, Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF, faced the realization that after 15 years of private equity investing in businesses in Europe, Asia and North America, the answer was: none.

It was a turning point for the former investment banker, although her partner and co-founder, South African Polo Leteka, had been doing exactly that for years.

“We realised  that we were meeting  many women entrepreneurs who were running formidable businesses…Africa is full of lots of female micro entrepreneurs, but they were not receiving any finance,” Ishmael told a packed plenary session at the Africa Investment forum which closed Wednesday 13 November, in the South African capital Johannesburg.

Ishmael was speaking as part of a panel session dubbed “Promises made, Promises kept,” which included Ashish Thakkar, CEO and founder of Mara phones, and Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors. Ishmael and Thakkar were on stage to share their testimonies. Ujiri, made a second appearance at the Africa Investment Forum to show off the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship trophy which he had promised to secure during the 2018 Forum, while urging investors to look at sports.

Aliethiea IDF – a private equity fund focusing on women, was able to raise tens of millions of dollars in boardrooms conducted during the 2018 Africa Investment Forum

“We had about 10 percent of funds raised. This week we are closing on over 70% of funds raised to reach our target of a $100 million,” Ishmael declared to thunderous applause. The Bank provided anchoring seed fund of $12.5 million to the fund.

The panelists agreed that increasing up support for women across the different economic sectors in which they participate is crucial.

“We are seeking out those women to build scalable businesses…from the factory floor all the way to the boardroom” Ishmael said.

Thakkar, who also sought out investors at the 2018 Forum, said he made a promise to build two Mara phone factories in Africa.

Thakkar’s Mara phones – quality, mobile phones “made in Africa, by Africans,” opened its first factory in October 2019 in Rwanda and a second later in the same month in Durban, South Africa, in keeping with his promise. 60% of his 400-450 employees are women – the highest gender ratio in the world, of any mobile phone manufacturer.

The interest the phones have received is directly tied to their quality, which Thakkar believes is connected to the input of women.

“This is why our quality is better than anybody else’s.  We have state-of the art facilities…it’s not just assembly, this is making the motherboards, putting over 1,000 pieces together,” he said.

Responding to a question about how to get more women involved and whether women stood to benefit, Ujiri answered that putting women in leadership roles only made sense.

When he took over the Toronto Raptors in 2013, there were no women at all, except for one secretary.

“And it really offended me…Women run our homes, they are incredible but when it comes to the workplace, we don’t want to give them that power to show their abilities, ’Ujiri said.

*AFDB
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