South Africa has made a commitment of $500 000 to the African Women Impact Fund, which seeks to empower women financial leaders.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as President of the African Union (AU), said on Monday, during a high level virtual panel hosted by G7 Partnership for African Women's Financial Inclusion in Africa, that this gesture was in support of greater economic and financial inclusion in African countries.
“South Africa, and as Chair of the African Union, fully support the G7 Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa. We believe that women must have access to working capital, credit lines, insurance and to digital tools such as mobile banking platforms,” he said.
Forty percent of all public procurement will be reserved for women-owned businesses and the AU is working with its member States to develop similar policy guidelines across the continent.
Ramaphosa urged governments to invest in the financial education of women and girls and give them the tools to become financially secure and independent while investing in a society in which their rights to dignity, security and financial empowerment were secured.
He urged governments to ensure that women took advantage of technological advances to start their own businesses, to trade and to seek employment.
Ramaphosa pointed out that the impacts of the coronavirus would be hardest felt by women, many of whom were employed in the informal sector.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on economic activity on the continent and around the world but women are the ones already suffering the most. And as a continent we have a duty to resuscitate that,” he said.
He said a digitally enabled economy, with a strong emphasis on gender equality had the potential to be transformative, fair, sustainable and competitive.
As Africa developed its information and communication technology infrastructure to advance greater access to technology, a greater number of women would have access to funding and online banking, which he said fulfilled a need that traditional banking services were unable to meet.
“A nation that empowers women is a strong and sustainable nation, therefore, our wish is for world leaders to use this occasion to reaffirm their commitment to the Partnership for Women's Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa,” Ramaphosa concluded.