Women-owned SMEs in Kenya to tap into Sh1.7bn funding

Tech woman

A recent World Bank survey showed that women-led businesses in Kenya have a bigger investment impact.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • A recent World Bank survey showed that women-led businesses in Kenya have a bigger investment impact.
  • In Kenya, the number of female-owned businesses is still low compared to the number owned by their male counterparts.


The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), a partnership hosted by the World Bank, has announced a new round of Sh1.73billion($15million) funding under the African Development Bank’s Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).

The funding will be used to develop and extend digital financial solutions to women-owned small and medium businesses in Kenya, Cameroon, Egypt, Mozambique and Nigeria. This fourth round of financing of a $54.8 million(Sh6.34billion) will benefit almost 69,000 women entrepreneurs in developing economies with access to digital technology and finance.

We-Fi is a partnership among 14 governments, eight multilateral development banks, and other public and private sector stakeholders. The African Development Bank is an implementing partner, and its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa program is a We-Fi initiative. 

The funds will enable the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility to design and implement programs to improve digital access to finance for women entrepreneurs, reducing the $42 billion (Sh4.8trillion) financing gap, and improving their operational efficiency to build back better following the COVID-19 crisis.

“We-Fi's fourth round of allocations comes at a crucial time. Women's economic empowerment is under pressure due to conflict and insecurity, rising prices and the continuous fallout from the Covid pandemic around the world,"Bärbel Kofler, Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

"I am pleased to see our Implementing Partners preparing such strong proposals to support women-led businesses. Access to technology and financing will be key to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs. Digital financial solutions are key to improving the quality of life of people in Africa and to reduce the gender access-to-finance gap.

"This funding, which is complementary to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa Initiative, will be used not only to broaden access to finance for women-led small and medium businesses, but also to provide an avenue for their increased economic empowerment and resilience,” said Stefan Nalletamby, Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the African Development Bank Group.

Three other multilateral development Banks received allocations in this fourth round: The Islamic Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and the World Bank Group.

In Kenya, the number of female-owned businesses is still low compared to the number owned by their male counterparts, with statistics by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showing that about 30 percent of small and medium enterprises are owned by women. 

This shows that there is need to support women-owned businesses financially as economies, including ours, cannot afford to have continued underrepresentation of the gender in entrepreneurship.

A recent World Bank survey showed that women-led businesses in Kenya have a bigger investment impact, supporting huge portions of household budgets, a survey by the World Bank shows, firming the need for more special financing for such enterprises.

In Kenya, firm-level profits earned by female entrepreneurs represent on average 65 percent of their household income while these businesses mainly employ women — boosting their multiplier financial effects both on the national economy and on households.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.