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Women entrepreneurs seek greater investment support
African women business leaders and innovators gathered at the Africa Investment Forum’s special evening session on International Women’s Day to discuss the challenges they face in securing financing for their businesses.
The event, held under the “Women as Investment Champions pillar,” showcased the achievements of women entrepreneurs and highlighted the need for greater support for women-led businesses. The Africa Investment Forum, a fully transactional platform focused on advancing public and private partnership deals, has been actively supporting women’s businesses since the launch of the Women as Investment Champions pillar in 2019.
During the gathering, attendees discussed the importance of investing in women and the need to accelerate women’s businesses by discovering their specific needs and encouraging their innate strengths. Chinelo Anohu, senior director of the Africa Investment Forum, expressed her gratitude for the champions present in the room, saying, “Women who are doing marvelous things, who are doing big things; women doing small things in a big way, and big things in an even bigger way.”
The sentiment was echoed by United States ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire Jessica Davis, who spoke of the importance of empowering women, which leads to prosperity for families, communities, countries, and the world.
The event showcased the work of several women entrepreneurs, including Salimata Toh, CEO of Agribana, which transforms banana tree trunks into biodegradable bags, and Edith Kouassi, CEO of EcoPlast Innov, a recycling plant that turns plastic waste and used tires into granules and building materials. Young women leading a new generation of women entrepreneurship, including Ahoua Touré, CEO of Maison Manjou, were also highlighted. Maison Manjou is a gastronomic company that celebrates African heritage through culinary works.
Kadi Fadika, CEO and partner of Hudson & Cie, spoke about the firm’s new project that supports women-owned small businesses by offering financing customised to their current size and growth. The businesswomen in attendance shared their journeys, triumphs, and challenges and expressed their optimism and expectations of how much further women can go with more resources.
The Africa Investment Forum’s partners, including the African Development Bank, Africa 50, the Africa Finance Corporation, the African Export-Import Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Trade and Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank, have been instrumental in supporting women-led businesses.
The gathering emphasised the need for increased investment in women’s businesses and showcased the strength and potential of African women entrepreneurs. As the Africa Investment Forum continues to support women’s businesses, there is hope that more women will be empowered to start and grow their businesses, leading to greater prosperity for themselves, their families, their communities, and their countries.
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