Women Empowerment: Standard Bank, ECA launch $100mln Fund

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(Ecofin Agency) - The UN Economic Commission for Africa announced the launch, in partnership with Standard Bank, of a new fund created to further empower women across the continent. The partnership deal was signed February 9 in Addis Ababa during the AU 33rd ordinary session.

The facility, African Women Leadership Fund (AWLF), will raise $100 million to support female-led businesses. Over $20 million was already mobilized on Feb 8. Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, and Senegal’s Macky Sall have each pledged a contribution of $500,000 while Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, promised $10 million. Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, also announced $8 million to support the initiative.

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 Goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and African Union Agenda 2063,” the ECA’s statement read. The money will mainly go to education, manufacturing industry, healthcare, energy, and agriculture.

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 Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ECA.

Moutiou Adjibi Nourou