Women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ten countries are set to receive African Development Bank Group (AfDB) support.
The bank has approved the sum of $12.5m equity investment in Alitheia Identity Fund to invest in the following countries: Nigeria, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Malawi.
AIF is a private equity fund managed by Alitheia Identity Managers, a joint venture between two established women-owned fund management companies, Alitheia Capital Limited of Nigeria and Identity Development Fund Managers of South Africa.
According to Financial Sector, Development Department Director, AfDB, Stefan Nalletamby the investments from the fund will create over 12,000 jobs and over 50 per cent of the jobs created will be permanent. Furthermore, more than 50 per cent of the jobs created will be occupied by women and this investment will provide scarce medium to long-term capital to at least 30 indigenous SMEs.”
Nalletamby noted that AIF is expected to yield financial returns in high growth sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, and manufacturing across targeted countries.
The fund is said to provide capital of between $2m to $5m to high potential mid-sized companies in target countries and would transform them into local and regional market leaders.
For AfDB’s Operations Vice President in charge of Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Private Sector, Solomon Asamoah ‘women’s financial inclusion requires bold and sustained action to advance women’s economic opportunities and rights.’
According to Asamoah, this action will ‘ensure that they can meaningfully participate in the economy without undue constraints and barriers that limit their progress.’