The African Development Bank (AfDB), through its Gender Equality Trust Fund, has announced an additional $950,000 grant to support the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program in the Sahel region.
The grant will complement an initial $3.9 million finance package which the AfDB approved for the Africa Small Business Linkages Program. The additional grant will be issued via the AfDB’s Transition Support Facility to help 1,400 women-led businesses in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger while contributing towards gender inclusivity in the growth of the region’s economies.
Administered by the G5 Sahel Union of Chambers of Commerce, the grants will boost access to finance, markets and business development services for women led businesses while helping them enhance productivity, access employment opportunities and participate in capacity building and skills development initiatives.
Malado Kaba, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the AfDB, said “We believe one key to building resilient African societies is the inclusion of women in economic development. The program’s wide range of business-related training and coaching, in addition to increasing access to finance, will go a long way toward reaching that goal.”
The development follows the release of a study conducted by the AfDB’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department which identified challenges and opportunities for women-led businesses in the Sahel region. The G5 Sahel are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The Sahel region is an elongated landlocked territory located between North Africa (Maghreb) and West Africa, and also stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.