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African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Initiative Asks Business Enablers to Apply for Second Round of Funding to Support Africa’s Women-Led Businesses

AFAWA is offering grants of up to $250,000 to organizations helping prepare African women-led businesses to drive the continent’s economies

Entrepreneurship enablers play an important role in bolstering the skills of women to establish ‘bankable’ SMEs

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 18, 2022/APO Group/ --

The African Development Bank Group’s ( Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative is launching its second call for proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers program, targeting women's business associations, incubators, accelerators, women-led cooperatives, and civil society organizations that promote the development of women entrepreneurs on the continent.

AFAWA is offering grants of up to $250,000 to organizations helping prepare African women-led businesses to drive the continent’s economies.

The program supports projects that enhance the viability and sustainability of formal women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enables them to access financing opportunities to grow their businesses.

Successful proposals will demonstrate innovative approaches to building a supportive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, aimed at improving access to finance for women SMEs. Enablers are expected to develop a comprehensive and sustainable capacity-building program to enable access to finance in partnership with financial institutions.

Applicants from all 54 African countries are welcomed, and organizations in the Sahel region and North Africa are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal. Eligible organizations may request one-time funding of between $100,000 and $250,000, which will be provided through the Bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund.

“Our first call for Women Entrepreneurship Enablers proposals drew nearly a thousand applications from organizations doing some groundbreaking work to equip women with the tools to expand their businesses,” said Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society

“Today, we are excited to pursue this initiative by bringing in a second cohort and funding the development of their capacity building activities allowing women entrepreneurs to obtain significant financing and scale,” she said.

“Entrepreneurship enablers play an important role in bolstering the skills of women to establish ‘bankable’ SMEs. However, the enablers themselves often face challenges, such as viable long-term growth plans and lack of financing, which reduce their reach, impact, and sustainability” said Esther Dassanou, AFAWA’s Manager.

Following the first call for proposals, issued in May 2021, AFAWA selected ten pan-African organizations with demonstrated success in mobilizing finance for women entrepreneurs. They are: AECF ( (Kenya); Seedstars ( (Tanzania); African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum ( (South Africa); Graça Machel Trust ( (South Africa); Entreprenarium ( (Rwanda); Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative ( (Nigeria); Transformational Business Network ( (Kenya and Uganda); Creative SpaceNG (Nigeria) (https://CreativeSpace.NG); E4Impact ( (Kenya); and PAWA Africa ( (South Africa).

Click here ( to watch AFAWA’s first cohort of Women Entrepreneurship Enablers

To learn more about the call for proposals click here.(  

All proposals must be received by 11 November 2022 at 23:59 GMT. A webinar will be held on Friday 21st October 2022 at 10 am GMT to offer additional information. Please use this link ( to register.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media Contact:
Amba Mpoke-Bigg
Communication and External Relations Department

Technical contacts:
Esther Dassanou
AFAWA Manager

Sakinatou BALDE
AFAWA Enabling Environment Officer

About AFAWA:
AFAWA aims to unlock $5 billion in financing for small and medium-sized enterprises owned and managed by women by 2026. AFAWA is supported by the Bank’s partners and donors, G7 countries, as well as the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). The funding, which aims to strengthen the ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, is in line with the Bank’s agenda to further gender equality and women’s empowerment.

About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: