News, Webinar 4

Concept note: Gender finance as an opportunity during crisis times

The EIB West and Central Africa SME Banking and Microfinance Academy 2020-2021

Webinar series Topic 4: Gender finance as an opportunity during crisis times

4th March 2021, 01 pm (Abidjan) / 02 pm (Cotonou, Paris, Frankfurt, Douala, Kinshasa)


Introduction and background

Making Finance Work For Africa (MFW4A) and the IPC, Horus and IECD Consortium, within the context of the European Investment Bank (EIB) TA Financial sector programme for West and Central Africa are hosting a series of four (4) webinars for banks and microfinance institutions operating in these regions. EIB’s mission clearly supports motions to:

  • to MSMEs in line with banking and MFI  regulatory requirements, and
  • deliver financial services on a credit worthy basis, proactively managing their loan portfolio including present and future NPLs and ensuring the safety of customer deposits.

This concept note is related to the fourth webinar, which will cover topics around gender finance and why it matters, in particular in the current crisis context.

According to the World Bank, women own 34% of private business globally and are more likely to employ other women. In addition, The Financial Alliance for Women has found for five consecutive years that women-led micro, small and medium enterprises have higher loan repayment rates than their male counterparts, which make them attractive customers for financial institutions. They also tend to work in sectors that provide high value contributions to society like education, healthcare and social services.

However they face different constraints than their male counterparts which have also been exacerbated by the current pandemic and economic situation. Indeed, women are already more vulnerable to economic shocks, their business network is less diversified and they are under time pressure due to other family responsibilities. While financial institutions have already indicated their willingness to provide assistance to their customers, it is clear that the specific constraints faced by women entrepreneurs need to be addressed by adapted strategies. Also, new opportunities are being offered by initiatives such as The “2X Challenge”, which calls for the G7 and other DFIs to join together to collectively mobilize $3 billion in commitments that provide women in developing country markets with improved access to leadership opportunities, quality employment, finance, enterprise support and products and services that enhance economic participation and access.

In this context, the panellists are invited to share their perspective on the following issues:

  • What are the needs and specificities of women entrepreneurs as a target group for Financial Institutions and why is it important to have a differentiated approach?
  • How can financial institutions better take into account the constraints faced by their female clients and respond to them with tailor-made products and services?
  • How can DFIs apply a gender-based lens to their operations and incentivise their clients to do the same, and what has the 2X challenge changed?  

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes of this webinar session are as follows:

  • The audience will have improved understanding on the characteristics of gender finance.
  • Participants will have gained insight on how financial institutions in the region can design financial products that meet the specific needs of female clients or female-owned businesses.
  • Participants will have broadened their understanding on how DFIs are supporting their partner local financial intermediaries in enhancing their gender-lens strategy.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to advance suggestions on how FIs can further support women led or owned businesses.

Event format and audience

The webinar will last about 75 minutes and will be held in French with simultaneous translation in English. It will combine presentations followed by a Q&A session provoking a panel discussion.

  • Opening by moderator MFWFA  – 5 min
  • Introductory words by EIB – 5 min
  • Introduction by moderator IPC on the topic – 7 min
  • Presentation by Alejandra Rios – 11 min
  • Transition by moderator and Q&A – 6 min
  • Presentation by Kady Traoré – 11 min
  • Transition by moderator and Q&A – 6 min
  • Presentation by Tania Colantone (EIB) – 11 min
  • Summary on presentations 3min
  • Final Q&A – 10 min
  • Wrap up – 1 min

The target audience is essentially middle and senior managers from financial institutions and development finance institutions operating in West & Central Africa.

At the end of the webinar, key takeaways will be summarized in a post-event report and shared with participants and other stakeholders within the African financial ecosystem. A digital version will also be posted on MFW4A portal for public dissemination.


Moderator: Edwige Takassi (IPC GmbH) (f) and Hugues Kamewe (MFW4A)(m)

Introductory words: EIB regional office representative (TBC)


  • Kady Traoré, CEO, Fin’Elle, Ivory Coast (f)
  • Alejandra Rios, Team Leader of the African Women Rising Initiative (AWRI, by EIB) (f)
  • Tania Colantone, Social Development Specialist EIB (f)


MFW4A: Hugues Kamewe                                                     IPC GmbH: Edwige Takassi

Email:                                   Email :