Women’s Financial Inclusion

SME Finance

The African Women’s Economic Summit

Policy Briefing

In 2012, New Faces New Voices partnered with Making Finance Work for Africa, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to produce a Policy Brief entitled “Advancing African Women’s Financial Inclusion”. The Policy brief looks at the challenges and obstacles that impede women’s access to finance and financial services across Africa.

United Nations Development Program

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are big drivers of economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation across the world.  In Africa, 26% of formal SMEs are owned by women but when informal women-owned businesses are included the number becomes much larger with many countries having high rates of female entrepreneurship.  Despite this, women-owned businesses struggle to get adequate financing to grow and expand their businesses.  The IFC estimates that there is a $20 billion funding gap in financing women-owned businesses. This challenge represents a vast opportunity for commercial banks and other financial services providers to better serve the women’s market segment.

Under our SME Finance work New Faces New Voices has been commissioned by the UNDP Regional Office in South Africa to conduct research on funding vehicles for women-owned businesses that have been established by the public and private sector in South Africa to put more capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs. Scheduled for release in 2014, this report will outline the lessons learned in deploying capital to women entrepreneurs.

The African Women’s Economic Summit

The African Women’s Economic Summit (AWES) is an initiative of New Faces New Voices in partnership with the African Development Bank. The Summit provides a unique platform to exchange ideas and best practices with African and global experts in order to find new and innovative ways to harness the untapped potential of women in Africa, both for their economic benefit and for the greater good of the continent.

The summit is held every two years and comprises of a series of work sessions underpinned by data and research.  From key stakeholders, we aim to identify Drivers of Change and elicit pledges on how to accelerate, women’s economic empowerment in ways that are tangible, measurable and effective.

African Women’s Economic Summit 2010

African Women’s Economic Summit 2012