ADDIS ABABA – African leaders are putting women front and center of efforts to drive the continent’s economic growth through a game-changing fund that invests in women fund managers.
The launch of the African Women Leadership Fund (AWLF) will provide capital to both first time and experienced fund managers in support of UN Sustainable Development on Gender Equality as well as Decent Work and Economic Growth, and African Union Agenda 2063.
The ground-breaking partnerships was formally signed at the weekend in Addis Ababa between the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and Standard Bank Group.
It is now expected to be transformational in breaking down structural barriers to inclusive investing in Africa, according to UN ECA.
Over $20 million was raised for the fund on Saturday that has a current goal of $100 million US dollars.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was instrumental in leading the way, pledging 500,000 US dollars.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall also committed $500,000. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also pledged to contribute to the fund.
The private sector participants pledged the rest.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada pledged 10 million US dollars to the African Union to boost gender parity while Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg promissed 8 million US dollars to AU initiatives.
UN ECA said a portion of these resources will be earmarked for the women’s initiative.
Among the world leaders who witnessed the official launch of this innovative impact investment fund were UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres, African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and Ethiopian President Sahlework Zewde.
“We are turning the tables and making women the decision-makers of investable money in Africa. We want women to be on the supply side of money, not only on the demand side,” said Dr. Vera Songwe, UN Executive Secretary of ECA.
A key goal of the fund is to empower women financial leaders who will drive economic growth, job creation, and create prosperity.
Songwe emphasized, “The goal here is to give women-led financial investment activities a huge injection of jet fuel to bear out the proven positive correlation between gender balance, higher financial returns and developmental impact.”