AWIEF And African Development Bank’s AFAWA Join Forces To Increase Access To Finance For Women SMEs

The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) have joined forces to drive increased access to finance and markets for women-owned and women-led small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) across Southern, East and West Africa.

The new  AfDB funded AWIEF programme “Solutions Catalysing Increased Access to Capital for the Success of Women Entrepreneurs” aims to accelerate efforts to address gender inequality and drive inclusive economic transformation.

More than 500 growth-oriented WSMEs will be supported for scale, access to markets and investment readiness across 8 African countries: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. 

The  two-year programme will create a profitable pipeline of investable businesses ready to access finance.

Programme Components

The programme is organized under 4 components:

AWIEF Growth Accelerator (in partnership with Nedbank) – to enhance investment readiness and increase access to finance.

eCommerce Capacity Development (in partnership with UNIDO) – for building knowledge, capacity and skills in digital channels to increase participation and success in online business.

Digital Skills (in partnership with Amazon Web Services) – to strengthen WSMEs capacity to embrace technology innovation.

Mentorship and Advisory – enhancing the visibility and access to role models for WSMEs through a mentorship platform.

Call for Applications for 2022 Cohort

Applications are invited from WSMEs for participation in any one of these programme components: 1) AWIEF Growth Accelerator; 2) eCommerce Capacity Development; 3) Digital Skills.

Selection Criteria

WSMEs registered and operating in: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Priority sectors include: Technology, Agriculture & Agribusiness, Creative Industry, eCommerce, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing, Retail, Construction, Logistics.

To find out more and to submit your application, please follow this link:

The deadline for submission is Monday, 18 July 2022 at 11:59pm Central Africa Time (CAT). 

Programme Timeline for 2022 Cohort

Applications open: 20 June 2022

Applications close: 18 July 2022 

Recruitment of participants: July – August 2022

Training:  September – December 2022

Contact for any enquiries or to arrange an interview with AWIEF Founder and CEO Irene Ochem.

We are committed to Africa

Unlike many global publications, for nearly a decade we have been committed to showing a complete picture of Africa – not just a single story.  Offended by one-sided coverage of wars, disasters and disease, the founders of created a website that provides a balanced view of Africa – current events, business, arts & culture, travel, fashion, sports, information, development, and more.

Will you support us?