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African Women Leadership Fund to provide capital to support female fund managers

A new fund, the African Women Leadership Fund (AWLF) will provide capital to both first time and experienced fund managers that invest in majority female-owned businesses, the UN Economic Commission for Africa announced yesterday.

The partnership was formally signed at the weekend in Addis Ababa between the UN Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and Standard Bank Group.

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Over $20-million was raised for the fund on Saturday (8 February) that has a current goal of $100-million.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Senegal’s President Macky Sall each pledged $500 000. This, while SA President Cyril Ramaphosa also pledged to contribute to the fund. The private sector participants pledged the rest.

The African Women Leadership Fund aims to raise $100m to support femakle fund managers in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada pledged $10-million to the AU to boost gender parity. Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg pledged $8-million to AU initiatives. A portion of these resources will be earmarked for the women’s initiative.

“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 (pictured above), UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of ECA.

Women fund managers will receive a deployment of capital to then invest in majority female-owned businesses.

Even though the fund is sector agnostic, priority sectors will be education, manufacturing, healthcare, clean energy and agriculture.

Additionally, technical assistance for fund managers and entrepreneurs will be offered through the initiative. The assistance ranges from building capacity, direct mentoring to leveraging technology in health and education.

Featured image: UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of ECA Vera Songwe (Facebook)

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