African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Global Gender Summit in Kigali

CAPE TOWN  - Close to $1.5 trillion financing gap for women-led small and medium-sized enterprises still exists in globally and about 70 percent of women are financially excluded in Africa. 

The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women and women, who are the majority of farmers in Africa, face financing gap of close to $16 billion.

President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina said an overwhelming 90 percent of women pay back their loans and that is why smart banks would lend to women. 

Adenisa addressed delegates at the Global Gender Summit taking place in Kigali, Rwanda from November 25 - 27.

The Summit, being held in Africa for the first time is held with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action and also focuses on how to fast track economic, social and political opportunities for women, and girls.

“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise, women are the best investments any society can make. When they earn, they spend 90 percent of their income on their households, including their husbands,” Adesina said.

The African Development Bank has launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), to mobilise $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa, the largest such effort in history. 

“The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable. Smart nations will invest in women,” said Adesina.

According to a recent study by McKinsey, equal and full participation of women can add an additional $28 trillion to global wealth by 2025, an increase of 26 percent in the global annual gross domestic product (GDP).

Rwanda and Ethiopia are the two countries recognised for empowering women in Africa. Rwanda has 50 percent of all ministerial positions filled by women. Ethiopia has 61 percent of its parliamentarians being women, the highest in the world. Four of the seven Supreme Court justices are women.

- African News Agency (ANA)