You are here

Empowering African businesswomen: ECA hosts capacity building workshop on financial inclusion

13 March, 2024
Empowering African businesswomen: ECA hosts capacity building workshop on financial inclusion

Addis Ababa, 13 March 2024 (ECA) – the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in partnership with The Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and the Commonwealth Businesswomen Africa (CBW-Africa), organized a one-day workshop on financial inclusion for businesswomen on 22 February 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Workshop was attended by 60+ participants from various countries in Africa including Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as local youth civil society groups. The meeting took a hybrid format.

Ms. Sonia Essobmadje, Chief of the Innovative Finance and Capital Markets Section at ECA, formally opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. She underlined the collective commitment to creating a more equitable financial ecosystem. She expressed her conviction that the outcomes of this workshop will make a significant contribution to global efforts to bridge the financial divide.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Ngozi Oyewole, President of CBW-Africa, expressed her firm belief that the workshop will transform the ways in which attendees perceive money, their workplace, and themselves. Further opening remarks were given by Amb. Aminou Akadiri, Executive Director of FEWACCI. Amb. Akadiri remarked on the importance of financial inclusion for economic empowerment, specifically underscoring the importance of private sector engagement to support financial inclusion for women.   

Ms Dagmawit Shiferaw, Director of the Innovative Finance Lab at UNDP, delivered a keynote address and highlighted the importance of the Innovative Finance Lab’s work, citing $6 billion worth financing gap for SMEs in Africa.

Prof. Jean-Marc M. Kilolo, Economic Affairs Officer, ECA, gave an overview of the Innovative Finance and Capital Markets Section (IFCMS) of the ECA and delved into its areas of intervention. He also presented on the inclusive bond project, a bond specifically intended to finance very small enterprises and the informal sector which is largely dominated by women.

Mr. Komi Tsowon, Regional Programme Advisor on AfCFTA at UNDP, presented on African women’s empowerment in global value chains, as well as the potential ways in which African businesswomen can leverage AfCFTA for greater business success.

Dr. Mactar Seck, Chief of Section at the Innovation and Technology Section at ECA, gave attendees insights into opportunities digital technologies offer to African businesswomen. He also presented on ongoing projects at ECA aimed at empowering women and girls, including the Connected African Girls Coding Camp project.

Ms. Edna Akullq, Economic Affairs Officer at ECA, illustrated the financing gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa, and presented on opportunities for financial inclusion across the continent.

The workshop was very interactive, with attendees engaged in lively discussions where they drew from their own experiences as businesswomen.

The meeting concluded with closing remarks by Mr. Robert Lisinge, Acting OIC of the Private Sector Development and Finance Division at ECA, who echoed the sentiment that financial inclusion for women is a matter of gender equality and sustainable economic development.

A recording of the workshop can be viewed here.

Photos of the workshop can be viewed here.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826