One year after the initial outbreak of the COVID-19, the economic impact on the world has been dire. In Africa, though the health impact of the pandemic has been relatively low in comparison to the rest of the world, it is estimated that 9.1% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa have immediately fallen into extreme poverty.
In the face of the human and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, existing gender inequalities in economic opportunities may worsen. 58% of the African self-employed population is women. Because many of their businesses are in less-profitable sectors, women are more vulnerable to negative economic impact.
Analysts state that the pandemic will erode at least a decade of progress made in women’s economic empowerment if deliberate mitigation measures are not instituted. This is where gender lens investing has become pivotal to Africa’s recovery. Women entrepreneurs need lines of credit, bridge financing and other forms of patient capital to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The African Diaspora Network (ADN) and SME.NG – Nigeria’s Impact Investment Platform, are organizing a virtual dialogue to mark International Women’s Month (IWM). The objective of the dialogue is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic opportunities for African women and to deliberate on how strategic investments in women entrepreneurship can help accelerate the continent’s recovery from the pandemic.
Marieme Esther Dassanou
AFAWA Coordinator, African Development Bank
Marieme Esther Dassanou is the Coordinator of Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) the African Development Bank’s flagship Pan-African initiative, which aims to bridge the $42 billion financing gap facing women entrepreneurs in Africa. She previously led IFC’s Gender Secretariat’s work on advancing women’s inclusion in the insurance and financial sectors.
The Nicnax Company
Ejiro Jakpa is the founder/CEO of The Nicnax Company a manufacturer of healthy, nutritious foods and snacks in Nigeria. In 5 years, I have deliberately built a successful indigenous brand and increased our product range to include the Nutee Peanut Butter, Nicnax Granola and Nicnax SimplyOats (Flavoured Oatmeal). This business has grown from marketing in the back of my car to a distribution network in 5 states across 60 stores/partnerships (including private label customers, restaurants & cafes).
Dr. Latanya Mapp Frett
President and CEO
Global Fund for Women
Latanya Mapp Frett is President and CEO of Global Fund for Women, which has fueled gender justice movements across the world for over 30 years, putting resources directly in the hands of courageous activists who are working to end oppressive policies and change entrenched norms. As a feminist fund, Global Fund for Women offers flexible support to a diverse group of partners—more than 5,000 groups across 175 countries so far—to create meaningful change that will last beyond our lifetimes.
Hon. Cecelia Dada
Lagos State Commissioner for women’s affairs and poverty alleviation
Thelma Ekiyor has over 19 years experience working in the development sector, as an impact investor, donor, philanthropic advisor, nonprofit practitioner, and social entrepreneur. She has experience working in 22 African countries. Ms. Ekiyor is the Managing Partner SME.NG – Nigeria’s Impact Investment Platform, which has set up two impact funds for women entrepreneurs.
Founder & Executive Director,
Almaz began ADN in 2010 to inform and engage Africans in the Diaspora and facilitate direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders to invest in Africa. For the last two decades, Negash has sought to improve the quality of life of our communities through both local and global partnerships.
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