Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, has announced that plans are currently being made to launch the African Women Leadership Fund to help fast-track the growth of women-owned businesses in Africa.

“Depending on the resources we raise, and with our target being five hundred million dollars, we will create a network of young women fund managers, train them for two years and put them out in the market,” said Vera Songwe in Nouakchott at a joint African Union-European Union High Level side event titled, “Women in Power”.

The African Women Leadership Fund aims to address the fundamental gap in the access of women to finance architecture. As such, it will seek to reduce the issues associated with women-owned businesses, promote investments in micro enterprises and take women’s cooperatives to a better position.

The Fund complements the Africa Women’s Fund of the African Union, the Graça Machel Trust, and other similar structures. It will focus on mobilizing global capital to build a cadre of African women fund managers who will, in turn, invest in and develop African women-led businesses and micro-businesses.

“We are hoping to have as many women running these funds as we have men”, said Ms Songwe.

The event was held at the 31st Summit of the African Union Heads of State.

Present at the meeting were President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed; and the Chairperson of the African Union, among other representatives of partner institutions and member states.