The African Women Impact Fund (AWIF), a partnership between Standard Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, has received funding from Visa.
The award will be used to meet the working capital requirements of 55 women who responded to AWIF’s call to action and have been a part of their program since 2020 throughout South, East, and West Africa.
The She’s Next program, a global advocacy program for women-owned businesses that has been expanded to Sub-Saharan Africa in order to further champion and support African women business owners as they create, sustain, and progress their enterprises, is being extended by Visa’s contribution to the AWIF.
Building sustainable businesses continues to present several difficulties for African women fund managers. Due to institutional impediments and investor bias, research indicates that progress in increasing the visibility and involvement of women fund managers is going slowly.
Less than 1.3% of the $69.1 trillion in global financial assets are handled by women and people of color, which further reflects this.
She’s Next’s mission is to support the growth of women-owned businesses, and through this funding, we hope to increase access in a sector where these enterprises are underrepresented. With the help of this program, we hope to make sure that women are not just receivers of institutional business investment, but also decision-makers. senior vice president and head of sub-Saharan Africa at Visa, Aida Diarra
The financing from Visa will go toward initiatives that help business owners develop their technical expertise, make themselves more appealing to larger institutional investors, and manage profitable enterprises that will go on to invest in other companies, including small and medium-sized ones. The money will make sure that these business owners can concentrate on expanding their companies without having to worry about handling short-term debt or other operational expenditures associated with creating a profitable company, noted Diarra.
Three areas will be covered by the AWIF grant:
Portfolio management skills include administration, risk management, and portfolio structuring.
Identification of investment possibilities, due diligence, mandate alignment, ongoing monitoring of investments and operations, and Operational assistance: Human resources, system deployment, operational and back-office support, vendor management
We are thrilled that Standard Bank and Visa have partnered up, and we are appreciative for their significant gift to the African Women Impact Fund. Gender equality is seen by Standard Bank as both a fundamental human right and a commercial necessity. Lindeka Dzedze, Global Markets Head, Strategic Partnerships at Standard Bank Group, adds that the group is of the opinion that economic empowerment of women is crucial to increasing Africa’s economic output and creating sustainable jobs, particularly within the small businesses that fuel growth on the continent.