For many decades people have asked: why aren’t more women involved in finance? In Africa, up until recently, the answer to this question was simply that they couldn’t be. While the number of women entrepreneurs in Africa has grown steadily over the past decade, their access to finance has been seriously hindered.
The problem originates from the banking system as a whole. While women have proven themselves to be bankable and pay back loans, the banks still do not lend to them.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), is working hand in hand with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to de-risk the financial system and allow institutions to give loans to women.
Not only would these changes tap into the business potential of half of the continent’s population, but they would increase the continent’s economic capacity. In the past growth has been held back by the inability of women entrepreneurs to obtain financing.
In addition, empowering women with access to finance will consequently be a catalyst for reforming the financial sector as a whole. With smarter policies, clear legislation and regulations, the African financial system will be more capable of participating in the global value chain and increasing their GDP.
Every person should have the right to invest in themselves. These changes in Africa are a step in the right direction for women worldwide. Keep your eye out for African female entrepreneurs such as Ngozi Opara, Brenda Katswesigye, Imoteda Aladekomo, and Kasope Ladipo-Ajai.