Boost for Kenyan Women as International Bank Unveils Ksh1.7B Fund

  • Women in Kenya and four other African countries are set to receive a major boost for their business after Africa Development Bank (AfDB) announced a Ksh1.7 billion (US$15 million) funding.

    A statement shared by the Bank dated April 26 and seen by showed that the financing was aimed at filling the gap suffered by women in Small and Medium businesses which stands at Ksh4.8 trillion across the continent. 

    The programme, which is carried by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) will seek to develop and extend digital financial solutions to women-owned small and medium businesses.

    Bärbel Kofler, Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, noted that the fund would be crucial in empowering women from the effect of Covid-19 pandemic as well as conflict and rising prices.

    African Development Bank
    African Development Bank

    “We-Fi's fourth round of allocations comes at a crucial time. Women's economic empowerment is under pressure due to conflict and insecurity, rising prices, and the continued fallout from the Covid pandemic around the world.

    "I am pleased to see our Implementing Partners preparing such strong proposals to support women-led businesses. Access to technology and financing will be key to unlocking the potential of women entrepreneurs," stated Kofler.

    Other countries that stand to benefit from the offering include Cameroon, Egypt, Mozambique and Nigeria with 69,000 women set to benefit.

    Stefan Nalletamby, Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the African Development Bank Group, explained that the fund would also help boost the economic empowerment of women across the continent.

    “Digital financial solutions are key to improving the quality of life of people in Africa and to reducing the gender access-to-finance gap.

    "This funding, which is complementary to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa Initiative (AFAWA), will be used not only to broaden access to finance for women in small and medium businesses but also to provide an avenue for their increased economic empowerment and resilience," she revealed.

    A September 2021 research by Forbes Africa showed that one in every four women was starting a business and that 96 per cent share the cost of maintaining their home expenses.

    In Kenya, the population is made of 52 per cent women while 30 per cent of businesses are registered by women.

    File image of Kenyan bank notes
    File image of Kenyan bank notes