50 MILLION AFRICAN WOMEN SPEAK NETWORKING PLATFORM (COMESA)
- Reference: P-Z1-G00-014
- Approval date: 15/07/2016
- Start date: 08/11/2016
- Appraisal Date: 30/03/2016
- Status: OngoingOnGo
- Implementing Agency: COMESA Secretariat
Component 1: Support for hosting infrastructure platform
* Provisioning of development, staging and production hosting server infrastructure; Interfacing with existing systems and networks; Hosting infrastructure monitoring and support services; Infrastructure R&D services; Continuous optimisation of infrastructure components; platform bandwidth consumption; and Data base infrastructure Component 2: Support for content and related data base platform development
* Application and content development of the platform using open source technologies; Development of a mobile platform as the SME-user interface; Development of donor / funder / investor user interface and supporting statistical databases and analytics components; Development of a content platform, for hosting, managing and provision of educational, financial-inclusion and other SME-specific business content; Content syndication, curation, translation and original content development; and development of the statistical
The goal of this platform is to improve the ability of women entrepreneurs to access finance and find relevant financial and non-financial information that will assist them to grow and sustain their businesses. A unique feature of this platform is that it will be technology and data driven, and will be more than just an information gateway. Its broader purpose is to create a dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas among women entrepreneurs, connecting them with one another in ways that will foster peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and the sharing of information and knowledge within communities, and access to market opportunities between urban and rural areas, and across borders and countries. These connections will also spur new ideas from the women themselves on how financial institutions and business development support providers can better respond to their needs. The platform will also be providing an opportunity to capture important statistics on financial inclusion in Africa. Its related statistical database should be able to provide sound and accurate data both on SMEs led by women and Financial Institutions products by country. It should contribute to generating and sharing knowledge on women's access to finance in countries.
African women entrepreneurs continue to face gender-specific barriers, such as illiteracy, lower levels of education and business training, weak property rights that deprive them of collateral and tangible assets, legal barriers that impede their economic activity and cultural barriers that discourage women from thriving as entrepreneurs. These barriers constrain their access to finance and financial services and limit the size and growth of their businesses
Impact on population: The platform will initially target women entrepreneurs aged between 25 - 54 years, although no other age groups (nor men) are specifically excluded, in Africa, who often struggle to access to information and finance and who also are less likely to have established business networks or mentors that can offer them much-needed advice and guidance on how to grow their businesses. Due to their affinity for technology and social media, they are expected to be early adopters of the platform and will help spread its benefits to women in other age brackets. 11.5.2 Impact on regional integration: The platform will create a dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas among women entrepreneurs, connecting them with one another in ways that will foster peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and the sharing of information and knowledge within communities, as well as access to market opportunities between urban and rural areas, and across borders and countries. 11.5.3 Impact on private sector development. Given that the hosting, application development and content will be outsourced to potential IT service providers, the private sector will play a major role in the sustainability of the platform. 10 11.5.4 Gender equality: The project design will also seek to address the gender-specific challenges women entrepreneurs continue to face, such as lower levels of education and business training, access to finance and financial services, information, and so on.
JACK Salieu - PICU2