Rural Women in West Africa get a boost from a NEPAD-ECOWAS Spanish Fund

Officials from NEPAD, ECOWAS and Spain in jovial mood after signing agreement

Press Release
Addis Ababa July 12, 2012
-The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, and the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) have signed a One Million Euro Grant - Agreement provided by the Spanish Fund for the empowerment of rural women in West Africa.

The Agreement was signed in Addis Ababa today by NEPAD’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo.

This Grant will provide funds for the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurs (BIAWE) Project, which nurtures the business ventures of rural African women operating primarily in the area of agriculture. The Project will support initiatives in economic capacity building, promote rural entrepreneurship and develop agricultural resources.

Speaking at the signing ceremony which was also attended by Miguel Fernandez-Palacios, Spain’s Ambassador to the African Union, Dr Mayaki thanked the Spanish Government for respecting the priorities of Africa. He said the funds would address key issues related to NEPAD programmes such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Porgramme (CAADP), which addresses the needs of women in agriculture.

“As the development wing of the African Union, the more NEPAD interacts with Regional Economic Communities such as ECOWAS, the more and better we perform according to our mandate,” said Dr Mayaki

The BIAWE Project, to run for two years, will guarantee resources for rural women entrepreneurs so that they can receive support from banks and financial institutions in the areas of loans, processing of agricultural produce and market access for the sale of their produce.

Mr Ouédraogo of ECOWAS said the establishment of the business incubator to existing regional programmes was aimed at creating wealth through modernizing and professionalising female-owned enterprises in line with the Millennium Development Goals aimed at eradicating poverty and hunger and promote gender equality and women empowerment.

Ambassador Fernandez-Palacios said the implementation of the joint NEPAD-ECOWAS project financed by Spain is proof of the Spanish commitment to the African continent and with the empowerment of the African woman, as well as for the improvement of the situation of the woman.

In 2009, the Heads of State of West Africa and Spain signed a joint declaration in which the ECOWAS Commission and the Spanish Government undertook to provide support for the capacity building of West African women. The signing of the Agreement with NEPAD is the final stage preceding the project implementation.

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For more information, contact

Maureen Nkandu – NEPAD Communications

Phone: +251 922724415

Email: maureenn@nepad.org