WEST AFRICA – The African Development Bank Group, through its Access to Finance for Women in Africa (AFAWA) Initiative has granted US$4 million to UN Women to support women entrepreneurs access to public procurement in West Africa.
The funding, the Bank’s largest-ever grant to UN Women, will improve the access of women-led businesses to public contracts.
It will also leverage the development of gender-sensitive procurement initiatives as part of inclusive post-Covid-19 recovery programs in Senegal, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria.
The collaboration agreement was signed by Oulimata Sarr, UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa, and Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade in Dakar.
This signing was witnessed by the President of the African Development Bank Group Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, on an official visit to Senegal, and the Senegalese Minister of Economy, Planning, and Cooperation, Amadou Hott.
Oulimata Sarr celebrated the strategic partnership between UN Women and the African Development Bank Group.
Public procurement accounts for a sizeable portion of global demand for goods and services, a multi-billion dollar industry accounting for 15-30% of global GDP.
In West Africa, women-owned businesses are underrepresented and only have access to 1% of government procurement.
The project aims to improve legislation and improve women’s abilities to access public tenders, ensuring that women are equipped with technical skills in order to access procurement opportunities.
The project will also contribute to mitigating the impact of the health crisis by helping women-led small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their skills to manage their online activities.
“The African Development Bank is extremely proud to have signed this project in partnership with UN Women through funding from the AFAWA initiative,” said Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Bank’s Managing Director for the West Africa region.
Additionally, entrepreneurs will be able to operate remotely and adjust their business models, including by exploring opportunities for innovation.
The managing director also noted that there is a need to influence continental processes like African Continental Free Trade Agreement to open up the market for women entrepreneurs.
Under this project, UN Women will work with national procurement agencies, small and medium enterprise departments, as well as women entrepreneurs.
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