Before the end of the year, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said it will grant $150 million to help women in agriculture.
During the pre-summit to the 2021 United Nations (UN) food systems conference, Beth Dunford, AfDB vice-president for agricultural, human, and social development, stated this.
Dunford reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to reducing the gender funding gap and warned of the impact of gender inequality on Africa’s food systems. Closing economic gaps are critical not only for women’s empowerment but also for African economies’ growth, poverty reduction, and structural transformation for long-term development.
Dunford emphasized the bank’s commitment to women’s empowerment in all sectors through policies including the new gender strategy 2021-2025 and the feed Africa plan, both of which promote gender equality and long-term results.
According to her, the African Development Bank (AfDB) would create a four-year road map for gender interventions, focused on the agriculture sector, where women have the greatest entrepreneurial potential. She also stated that providing access to credit for African women-owned small and medium businesses is an important part of the bank’s aim to create a favorable business climate for women entrepreneurs.
The Bank plans to offer close to $500 million by the end of 2021, with $150 million going to women in agriculture, as well as work with public and private sector partners to develop alternative financial models to help women farmers get the funding and skills they need to thrive sustainably.
The finance gap for African women in agricultural value chains is projected to be $15.6 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Women play a critical role in agriculture and agribusiness, according to the report, and countries need more comprehensive and responsive regulatory and policy frameworks to benefit from their efforts.
In September 2021, the United Nations will conduct a meeting on food systems in New York.