African Women as Successful Entrepreneurs who make Significant Contribution

More than 70% of women in east African countries have no access to formal banking services. Swisscontact expands on the introduction and further development of financial instruments which are specially tailored to women entrepreneurs’ needs.


African women make a significant contribution to economic growth and development in Africa. However, in Africa as a whole, more than 70% of women have no access to formal banking services. The case for better financial access is not only a matter of equity, but also a matter of growth and stability.

Swisscontact was contracted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to carry out a study on the financial inclusion for women in Rwanda. The objective of the study was to assess Rwanda’s financial sector’s legal and regulatory frameworks, as well as financial institutions’ structural set-ups against existing relevant best practices. On this basis, the National Bank of Rwanda will be able to identify legal and operational gaps and turn them into windows of opportunity to fast-track financial inclusion for women in Rwanda.

The objective of Microleasing is to enhance access to financial leases by smallholder farmers and micro-entrepreneurs for the acquisition of productive assets. This would in turn enable them to diversify their income stream. In 2006, the project was successfully launched in Kenya and then extended to Uganda. Currently, Swisscontact is in the initial stages of conducting a feasibility study for the introduction of Microleasing in Rwanda and Tanzania.

Financed by the Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF) and successfully piloted in Tanzania, Fanikisha + offers a range of five lending financial products tailor-made for female entrepreneurs. The products integrate financial literacy, entrepreneurship training and business coaching. With funding support from the Swiss Capacity Building Facility and in close collaboration with Equity Bank Rwanda, the financial products and services will be introduced in Rwanda. 250 early-stage women entrepreneurs will receive customised training and benefit from increased linkages within the Rwandese women micro, small and medium enterprise market.

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