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African Development Bank (AfDB) Call for Proposals: Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship Enablers for Stronger Women SMEs in Africa.


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African Development Bank (AfDB) Call for Proposals: Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship Enablers for Stronger Women SMEs in Africa.

This May, the African Development Bank Group is launching a call for proposals for projects enhancing the viability and sustainability of women entrepreneurship enablers.

Women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, and cooperatives that advance women’s entrepreneurship, can apply for funding for innovative projects or programs to bolster the skills of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned and run by women across Africa, the Bank announced.

Entrepreneurship enablers, which include business associations and civil society organizations, play an important role in empowering women to establish bankable SMEs and other businesses. However, the enablers themselves often face challenges, such as long-term growth plans and lack of financing, which reduce their reach, impact and sustainability.

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“Women business enablers are critical to creating a viable enabling environment in which women entrepreneurs can grow and create businesses that generate jobs for the continent. Through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative, the Bank is committed to supporting enablers to strengthen the business and financial skills as well as wealth-creating capacity of their members,” said Esther Dassanou, manager of the program, also known as AFAWA.

The Bank will assess applicants’ track record in supporting women SMEs, innovation and strong development impact, as well as their capacity to mobilize other sources of funding. Eligible organizations may request funding of between $100,000 and $250,000, provided through the Bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund.

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The AFAWA initiative is unique as it offers a multi-dimensional approach to remove the constraints women entrepreneurs face in Africa. AFAWA aims to unlock up to $5 billion of financing for Women Small and Medium Entreprises (WSMEs) by leveraging the Bank’s financial traditional instruments (lines of credit, trade finance, and equity funds) and through the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth (G4G), an innovative mechanism de-risking women entrepreneurs and enhancing Financial Institutions’ (FIs) appetite in lending to WSMEs.

These financial mechanisms are supported by technical assistance to financial institutions and WSMEs to ensure that adequate products and services are developed to address women’s financial needs, as well as adequate knowledge to build bankable and sustainable projects. Given the importance of a strong enabling environment to strengthen WSMEs ability to access financing, the goals of AFAWA G4G program cannot be achieved without inclusive regulatory policies in place, and equaly as important, the presence of enablers with sustainable programs to assist women entrepreneurs in their growth.

Submitted proposals will:
i. Demonstrate innovative approaches to build a supportive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship aimed at improving access to finance for WSMEs;
ii. Develop innovative ways to disseminate advisory services adressing capacity constraints, skills enhancement and digital presences for WSMEs;
iii. Enhance visibility and access to mentorship and role models for WSMEs.
Through the proposed interventions, the enablers must demonstrate increased access to finance, skills and mentorship. The Bank seeks proposals that demonstrate the following themes:
i. Track record in supporting women SMEs;
ii. Innovation and strong development impact;
iii. Mobilization of additional funding;
iv. Partnership with both public and private sectors;
v. Additionality and value for money;
vi. Long term plan and sustainability;
vii. Collaboration between two or several applicant enablers.

Funding requests may be for a specific project or for an indicative program of several projects, or over several countries. The minimum threshold for requesting funding from this call for proposal is $100,000 and the maximum threshold is $250,000.

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Geographical Scope
While all countries will be considered, preference will be given to proposals implemented in the following countries: Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republique of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa,Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia to align with the ongoing AFAWA Guarantee for Growth Program pipeline.

Application and Timelines
The call for proposals will be financed through the Gender Equality Trust Fund (GETF) of the African Development Bank Group.
Proposals (Not more than 10 pages) either in English or French should be submitted using the attached template via email to the following e-mail address: Benard Chitunga:

[email protected] Senior Officer- Partnerships, Donors and Special Projects, AFAWA and copy Esther Dassanou : [email protected] Manager, AFAWA.
• Call for Proposals Issued April 30, 2021
• Call for Proposals Closed May 30, 2021 and should follow the format below.
• Awards will be announced on July 15 , 2021.
Short-listing and selection shall be done in accordance with the Bank’s policies, rules and procedures. The Bank is under no obligation to shortlist any company, partnership or association.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the AfDB Call for Proposals: Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship Enablers

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