World Bank Group seeks over $1 billion for women entrepreneurship

On the occasion of the G20 leaders’ summit, the World Bank Group announced the creation of an innovative new facility that aims to enable more than $1 billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship and help women in developing countries gain increased access to the finance, markets, and networks necessary to start and grow a business.

According to a dispatch, the United States initiated the idea for the facility and will serve as a founding member along with other donor countries.“This incredible facility will have a significant impact on women's economic development around the world,” United States President Donald Trump said. “It will help increase opportunities and economic growth while addressing unique barriers women entrepreneurs face. I am proud the United States is helping to lead support of this unprecedented initiative."

“Women’s economic empowerment is critical to achieve the inclusive economic growth required to end extreme poverty, which is why it has been such a longstanding priority for us,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “This new facility offers an unprecedented opportunity to harness both the public and private sectors to open new doors of opportunity for women entrepreneurs and women-owned firms in developing countries around the globe.”

"‎Everyone benefits when women have the resources they need to participate fully in our economies and societies,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “Our Government is determined to help women gain the tools they need to be successful entrepreneurs and leaders. This important investment will help women in developing countries to create jobs, build economies that work for everyone, and have a real and fair chance at success.”

“I am happy that this initiative for women presents real added value. I want to sincerely thank everyone who worked on it especially the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and Ivanka Trump and others. We can see from the example of this Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative that the G20 is not just a two-day Summit, but that the G20 is a process”, Chancellor Merkel of Germany said. “And I don’t have the slightest doubt that under the leadership of Jim Kim that these will be truly valuable and productive investments.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “Women’s active participation in society is one of the pillars of Abenomics. Women’s empowerment and leadership will diversify and revitalize organization and societies. This facility embodies such belief in developing countries, and is promising initiative to achieve society where women shine.”

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the first World Bank-led facility to advance women’s entrepreneurship at this scale, will work to enable more than $1 billion of financing to improve access to capital, provide technical assistance, and invest in other projects and programs that support women and women-led SMEs in World Bank Group client countries. The goal of the facility is to leverage donor grant funding – currently over US$325 million – to unlock more than $1 billion in IFI and commercial financing by working with financial intermediaries, funds, and other market actors.

The dispatch says the World Bank Group was invited by the United States and Germany to create the facility, given the Bank Group’s deep experience, track record, and strong learning and innovation agenda. The initiative received strong donor support from Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States, enabling the Bank Group to take the facility from concept to Board endorsement within the year of the German G20 presidency.

Women entrepreneurs face numerous challenges to financing, owning, and growing a business, including limited access to capital and technology, a lack of networks and knowledge resources, and legal and policy obstacles to business ownership and development.

One of the major constraints limiting female-led enterprises is access to financial services. Nearly 70 percent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries are either shut out by financial institutions or are unable to receive financial services on adequate terms to meet their needs.


AfDB focuses on fashion industry in Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is focusing on creating jobs for millions of women and youth in Africa. The AfDB has called for the empowerment of small and medium operators in the textiles, apparel and accessories sectors as a deliberate job creation strategy.

Recently, at the Small Business Indaba in Gauteng, South Africa, the AfDB main objective of the Small Business Indaba was to provide small, medium and micro- enterprises (SMMEs) with the tools and network to grow their manufacturing operations to the next level of innovation and job creation.

“Textile and clothing is the second largest sector in the developing world after agriculture. This sector is dominated by SMEs and holds the potential to create jobs for millions of women and youth across Africa,” Emanuela Gregorio, Gender Specialist at AfDB, said at the conference.

“The foundation of any long-lasting venture in Africa depends on the continuous empowerment of regional SMEs and young entrepreneurs. Governments, the private sector and international investors must consider Africa’s young people and SMEs central to the stability of their economies”, the AfDB official adds.

A large percentage of workers in the textile and clothing industry is made up of women. Because it is labor-intensive, it has great scope to offer employment and to transform the lives of many women and youth across Africa.

“In this context, we have developed a flagship initiative named Fashionomics to enable African women and youth operating in the textiles, apparel and accessories sector to develop and grow their businesses,” she noted.

The AfDB launched Fashionomics (the economics of fashion) initiative to increase Africa’s participation in the global textile industry supply chain. Fashionomics is an initiative to support the development of micro, small and medium- sized businesses (MSMEs) operating in the textile, apparel and accessories industry in Africa, with a focus on women and youth empowerment.

SMEs have the great potential of fuelling growth and spur job creation. Today, these small and growing businesses create around 80% of the region’s employment, establishing a new middle class and fuelling demand for new goods and services.

The Bank runs an SME programme designed to support micro, small and medium enterprises. The Bank is closely tracking its role in the continent’s inclusive development through its High-5 agenda (Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa).--Press release

Cummings Foundation donates to J.J. Dossen

Cummings Africa Foundation or CAF has donated medical supplies worth US$100,000 to the J.J. Dossen Memorial referral hospital in Harper City, Maryland County - southeast Liberia.

The Foundation is owned by presidential hopeful and Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings. The consignment includes gauzes, bandages, surgery beds, pampers, and respiratory tanks, among others.CAF country director Ms. Fatu Gbedema says the donation is in response to a request from the hospital authorities to Mr. Alexander B. Cummings during a recent visit to the county.

Receiving the consignment on behalf of the hospital, chief administrator Ms. Julian Natt Doe, lauded the Cummings Africa Foundation for the gesture and promised that they will be used for the intended purpose. She says the medical materials would serve the hospital for long period, because their expiry date is 2021.

Madam Doe continues that the hospital looks forward to more donations from CAF and other humanitarian organizations to enable the hospital adequately meet the health needs of patients.

CAF implemented 24 quick impact projects with 25 implementing partners in eighteen months, benefiting about 30,097 persons in the areas of Agriculture, Health, and Education at a cost of US$289,386.00.

The Foundation paid WAEC fees and provided tutorial support for 2,322 pupils from 21 schools across Maryland Country. It also established the Alexander B. Cummings, Jr. modern computer lab at the University of Liberia Fendell Campus, among others.

For her part, Miss Maryland 2017 and Miss Liberia 2nd runner up Goretti L. Itoka, on behalf of young people in the county lauds CAF for the level of support brought to the county health system by the Cummings Africa Foundation, adding that it will enable the hospital to cater to more patients. However, she calls on the hospital authorities at the hospital to ensure that the donations are used for their intended purpose.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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