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Thematic Area:

Women Banking & Empowerment


2019 – 2020


African Development Bank (AfDB)



Country Coverage:           

Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia

Project Overview

Despite robust economic growth rates, rising levels of poverty across the African continent demonstrate the need for a more inclusive development agenda. Additionally, African businesswomen experience higher financial access barriers than their male counterparts. In this context, this Project facilitates AfDB´s Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) to select and fund women-led and owned small and medium-sized enterpries (SMEs) and develop robust SME portfolios that ultimately contribute towards a robust and vibrant SME sector in Africa.

afawa poster

2020 African Development Bank - AFAWA

Frankfurt School experts are implementing the Project activities, which focus on technical assistance (TA) to:

  • Develop the capacities of PFIs to provide gender sensitive financial services that respond directly to the needs of women-led SMEs;
  • Strengthen the skills of women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses; and,
  • Enhance the capacity of business development service (BDS) providers, women cooperatives, women trade associations, as well as Government Ministries and regulatory authorities to improve the enabling environment for women owned-led businesses.

Frankfurt School started the Project with market research and institutional assessments of Access Bank in Rwanda and Credit Bank in Kenya. This served as the foundation to develop women-responsive credit, savings and insurance products as well as non-financial services such as training and coaching for women entrepreneurs in partnership with local women associations and BDS providers. Based on the market research, women entrepreneurs have clear expectations from a women-responsive bank: “I want them to accompany me, grow with me” (Kenyan women entrepreneurs).