Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the Africa Development Bank, says 98 percent of women repay their loans.
Speaking at the first ever Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Sandton, South Africa, Adesina said if women had the resources available to men, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the world will go up by 26 percent.
“If the world today has the same resources for women that it has for men, you would be able to increase the GDP of the world by 26 percent,” Adesina said.
“And in case of Africa, that GDP will go up by an additional 12 percent. So it makes sense, economic sense, to invest in women.
“That is where the challenge really is, the women don’t have access to finance. If you look at the financing gap that women have, it is roughly anything around $42 billion in terms of financing businesses for women in Africa today.
“Take agriculture, that is probably another $12 billion gap for financing for women.”
“Women, we know, payback on their loans; 98 percent payback on their loan. So, what sense does it make that you are telling me that you are not goin to be lending to women that pay back 98 percent of their loans.
“I am sure the balance of two percent is probably their husbands in a way telling them that they shouldn’t go and pay. The point I am trying to make is that women are bankable!”
Adesina said the AfDB is doing what it can to ensure that banks in Africa lend more to women, and rejig the financial system.
“Women pay back their loans, we have to develop new financing instruments that allows us to lend more to women, not based on collateral, because there is nothing better than the collateral of your repayment rate,” he added.
“Let us rejig and tune the financial market towards women, and that is why for us at AfDB, everything we do is to make sure that we do that.
“We give quite a lot of financing to women through intermediary financing institutions. and we hold banks accountable to what the do for women.
“For example, we just did Fidelity Bank in Nigeria $50 million, and 30 percent of it will go to businesses of women.”