PAWA AFRICA & Akiba Digital collaborate to enable financial inclusion & access to funding opportunities for WSMEs in South Africa.

[Johannesburg-17 July 2022] – PAWA Africa & Akiba Digital have been selected as the first cohort of enablers for stronger Women Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) in South Africa, launched by a flagship initiative of African Development Bank – The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).

The African Development Bank estimates the financing gap for African women to be $42 billion (R607bn). Women-Owned Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) often lack access to traditional collateral and their businesses are not always well documented. WSMEs have better credit repayment records than men, yet still find it harder to raise finance than their male counterparts. Our goal is to reach 5000 African WSMEs in South Africa who will access financial literacy and access to funding opportunities through the Akiba “Insyts” digital platform, “ says Alesimo Mwanga, PAWA Africa Executive Director.

This initiative is a unique multi-dimensional project that aims to tackle the constraints women entrepreneurs face in Africa through the means of unlocking $5 billion of financing for WSMEs through various leveraging and innovative mechanisms. The funding gap, cash flow management and limited access to funding for WSMEs has been exacerbated by Covid-19, which has been particularly devastating to women-owned businesses. Since many women-owned businesses are informal they have limited financial reserves and irregular cash-flow to sustain long-term profits.

“Akiba Digital is fintech that connects SMMEs to financing while enabling lenders to provide credit to SMEs and thin-filled individuals by providing embedded lending solutions and alternative credit scoring. We have built a platform called Insyts to not only enable the 8,000 SMMEs we onboarded gain access to financing but to get prepared for financing. This AFAWA project is going to allow us to maximise this impact for Women-led SMEs and as a women founder myself, I could not be more excited to be part of this. More women-led businesses in Africa need access financing and we hope to enable that” Akiba Digital Co-Founder & CEO Tebogo Mokwena

Socio-culturally, most women entrepreneurs still face challenges of balancing home and business responsibilities. Our roadshows kick-off in August 2022 and we hope to meet WSMES based in South Africa that meet the following criteria.

  • Women-Owned/Women-Led Firm
    • ≥ 51% owned by a woman; or founded by a women
  • Leadership
    • ≥ 20%-30% women in senior management
  • In operation for 1 year
  • Between 2-10 employees or more
  • Based in South Africa
  • Are planning to expand their teams
  • Already generating revenue of R200,000 and above p.a.

About Project Implementation Partners

Project implementation partners are organizations led by women and are positioned to understand critical gaps faced by women-led businesses. PAWA Africa is a sustainability impact agency based in South Africa Johannesburg. PAWA previous clients include organisations such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), All4Youth Sub Saharan Africa Regional Alliance headed by Nestlé and alliance partners and the Southern Africa

Akiba Digital is a financial API marketplace to enhance the lending value chain from onboarding, risk scoring & lending decisions. Akiba Digital has worked with Expert Dojo, Oui Capital, RCS, Kuda & Koosmik and has received media recognition from Disrupt Africa & Alpha Code.

For more information contact our team:


377 Rivonia Boulevard, Sandton, Johannesburg

011 593 2098

[email protected]

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