Women are an excellent investment, AfDB says

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The headquarters of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) as pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The headquarters of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) as pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. PHOTO/COURTESY: Google

Leaders from multilateral development banks, financial institutions and the private sector called on peers to dispel myths about women being too “high risk” for financing – and to offer more financial services for women in business to close the gender finance gap.

“We know that women are a good bet. We know they pay back. We know they run excellent businesses – and yet they are not getting financed,” said Dr. Jennifer Blanke, AfDB Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

An important step is for multilateral development banks to offer credit guarantees to commercial banks to invest in women entrepreneurs, Dr. Blanke said.

“We know that if we provide those guarantees, then the banks are going to be lending to a lot more women, and they are going to discover that women are an excellent bet – and are an excellent investment.”

The AfDB VP and other leaders were speaking at the “Using Innovative Financing Mechanisms to Accelerate Finance for Women in Business” plenary panel session at the Global Gender Summit on Tuesday.

The international gathering of gender champions from government, finance institutions, multilateral development banks, civil society and private industry, runs from 25 – 27 November in Kigali, Rwanda.

Panelists acknowledged that strides have been taken to bring gender equity to financing. However, according to World Economic Forum data, at current rates of progress it will take at least 200 years to close the global pay gap between men and women.

Asian Development Bank’s Gender Lead, Sakiko Tanaka, noted this 2019 Global Gender Summit has seen increased awareness of the need for women’s financial inclusion to achieve gender equality.

 “There’s more money coming in for gender equality. However, there are still major gaps globally and as well as in each region,” said Tanaka, who also serves as chairperson of the multilateral development bank working group on gender.

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