African Women's Economic Summit: Investing Differently in Women

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Tunis, 1st March 2010 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Donald Kaberuka, and Founder of New Faces, New Voices network (NFNV) Graca Machel, will co-host “The African Women Economic Summit” scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 19-20 March 2010 on the Theme: Investing differently in Women.

The high-level event will bring together some 100 African and global leaders in the financial and political sectors, policy-makers, regulators, commercial banks, and prominent women entrepreneurs to formulate actionable and measurable interventions to shape the financial system to enable women to become an integral part of its architecture.

The AfDB President has recognized the need for more African women to be involved in the financial system as a prerequisite for the continent’s sustainable growth.

The Bank has made deliberate and sustained contributions in promoting equality between women and men by supporting efforts by African governments towards gender mainstreaming. The Bank is represented by two units which jointly work to take an important part in this event : the Private Sector and Microfinance Department and the Bank’s Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Unit.

The NFNV is a professional network catalysing change in business and finance by harnessing the potential of women in Africa, innovatively and profitably. It is from this common thinking on the economic role of women in Africa that Mr. Kaberuka and Ms. Machel agreed to co-host the African Women’s Economic Summit in 2010. The Summit is being held in Kenya in partnership with the Central Bank of Kenya and the Central Bank’s Governor, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u.

Other prominent participants include Ms Namirembe Bbumba Syda, the Minister of Finance of Uganda, Ms Linah Mohohlo, Governor of the Central Bank of Bostwana and Ms Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Greenbelt Movement, will also attend the summit.

The event is driven by the growing realization that women represent a new emerging market and that in order for them to successfully finance women’s needs, policy-makers, regulators, financial service providers and development finance institutions need to have a clear understanding of:

  • The economic potential and business opportunities represented by this under-served market;
  • The challenges faced by women in accessing financial services and in assuming leadership roles within financial sector institutions;
  • Innovations in finance that will scale up significantly the access of women to financial services;
  • The regulatory and policy responses to developing a more inclusive financial sector for women.

The summit will identify:

  • The social and cultural barriers to overcome for women to take a centre stage role in the development of Africa’s financial system, as users of financial services and decision makers;
  • The appropriate regulatory and policy responses to provide the enabling environment for a rapid and wide expansion of services to women across all income brackets;
  • Measures to promote innovations in finance for the profitable delivery of financial services to this market segment; and
  • The mechanisms that will empower women to take up decision-making positions so their voices are heard in the re-shaping of Africa’s financial system.

The outcome of the Summit will include actionable and measurable interventions to be undertaken by financial sector stakeholders to invest differently in women based on the recommendations distilled during the Summit discussions.