African Women Impact Fund (AWIF) Initiative’s has been launched with a commitment of USD 60 million. These funds will provide capital to existing women owners and women fund managers across different asset classes and African regions.
The announcement was made at the inaugural The Global Africa Business Initiative, held from 18 – 19 September during the week of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
The initial $60m commitment to the Initiative includes $15m from BADEA, and $45m from The Motor Industry Retirement Funds (MIRF) and Copartes Pension Fund in South Africa. MIRF and Copartes have agreed to bring their $45m in assets recently allocated to developing start-up women fund managers in South Africa under the AWIF Initiative.
Adam Essat, MIRF and Copartes Principal Officer explains: “Through our initial commitment of $45m to the AWIF Initiative, we hope to show that institutions on the African continent believe in and support this Initiative and its objectives. We encourage global investors to take action and invest alongside us in facilitating diversity, development and empowerment in bright and unstoppable Africa.”
Dr. Sidi Ould TAH Director General at BADEA says: “I believe this fund will accelerate fundraising and capital allocation by female fund managers on a transformative level. It is through barrier-braking initiatives such as these that together, we can create a sustainable and scalable investment environment that drives inclusive growth for all who live in Africa.”
The existence of gendered stereotypes and racial biases in society have detrimental effects globally. This holds true within the investment space where these prejudices obstruct female entrepreneurship, appointment of women in leadership roles, and empowerment of female fund managers. Of the $69.1 trillion of financial assets under management globally, less than 1.3% are managed by women and people of colour. It is increasingly alarming that only 7% of private equity and venture capital funding is allocated to women-led businesses in emerging markets.
The AWIF Initiative’s primary purpose is to overcome the systemic barriers and investor biases in the asset management industry, by enabling and promoting women-owned and women-led funds on the African continent.
The AWIF is an Initiative of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) together with its partners: UN Women, the Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, and the African Women Leadership Network. It has been established in collaboration with the Standard Bank Group as lead sponsor, MiDA Advisors as key strategic advisor, and RisCura as the investment manager and provider of manager development and support services.
The Initiative has a two-fold agenda of making a commercial impact for investors while empowering women financial leaders to drive growth in Africa. With a bold ambition to raise up to $1 billion over 10 years for women fund managers, who will in turn invest in high-impact sectors and projects across Africa, this first-of-its-kind initiative is well positioned to enable economic stimulus through sustainable and gender-inclusive capital growth opportunities.