How to promote Africa’s economic development by reducing gender inequalities? The question was on the menu of the Novafrica conference in Lisbon, Portugal. While 130 million African girls and women live in premature unions according to UNICEF data.
The World Bank supports several projects on the continent that aim to foster female entrepreneurship.
“These programs work with, for example, banks and microfinance institutions to help them improve financing for women. We work with e-commerce platforms and businesses to try to get more women become suppliers so that they can sell their products in large, stable markets. We work with government agencies to reduce policies and also for governments to make public contracts for women’s businesses.”, explained Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi Secretariat at the World Bank.
And to add: ” So it’s about making sure that governments really recognize the importance of knowing who they are buying from. And women should not be excluded from these markets. We work with accelerators, we work with training agencies, so in all these countries we have different partners that we work with to develop the capacities of women entrepreneurs.”
In Mozambique, women represent more than 50% of the population, but this is not reflected in the country’s economy. The financial sector has invested in financial education, but their appropriation by women requires the explanation of the concepts.
“She can hear on the radio what saving is, but it will be different if someone sits down with her and shows her how from this business she can start saving, can start creating the conditions to alleviate, to reduce these periods of seasonal poverty,” said Esselina Macome, Managing Director of the Financial Sector Deepening Program in Mozambique.
This new Africa that everyone wants to build presents many challenges, but the solution can be simple.
“We believe that by putting funds in the hands of women, helping them build their skills and access the market, we can help these countries better withstand the many crises they face today.” Wendy Teleki.