The first Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) West Africa Regional Summit took place on April 17, 2019, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Organized by We-Fi in collaboration with the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank, the Summit brought together heads of state, leaders of multilateral development banks, key We-Fi government representatives, private sector executives, and women entrepreneurs to discuss concrete ways to expand opportunities for women-led small and medium-sized enterprises in West Africa.
The objective of the Summit was to galvanize high-level support for public policy reforms and private sector actions to promote women’s entrepreneurship in the region.
The event featured His Excellency Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire; Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the U.S. President; Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank; Bandar M. H. Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank; Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO; Jean-Claude Brou, ECOWAS Chair, and other high-ranking officials.
The event also featured successful women entrepreneurs, private sector executives, ministers, and key We-Fi government representatives and partners focusing on transformative actions required to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to financial markets, and networks through public policy reforms and private sector actions.
The event concluded with a joint Call to Action urging wide-ranging public policy reforms and private sector actions to help women entrepreneurs overcome persistent barriers, both financial and non-financial. These included the urgent need to remove labor and mobility restrictions for women and to ensure their equal rights to the property.