By Olivia Nnorom
Visa, in collaboration with Standard Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), has announced a grant towards the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF) to fund the working capital needs of 55 women fund managers across South, East, and West Africa, who responded to AWIF’s call to action and have been part of their programme since 2020.
Visa’s grant to the AWIF is an extension of the She’s Next programme, a global advocacy programme for women-owned businesses that has been expanded to sub-Saharan Africa to further champion and strengthen African women business owners as they build, sustain, and advance their businesses.
Research shows slow-moving progress in the visibility and inclusion of women fund managers, due to systematic barriers and investor bias. African women have been shown to account for just 7.6 percent of private equity and women-led businesses receiving only 7 percent of Private Equity (PE) and Venture Capital (VC) in emerging markets, highlighting the opportunities that exist to reduce the current gender gaps.
This is further reflected in the less than 1.3 percent of the $69.1 trillion global financial assets that are managed by women and people of colour.
Aida Diarra, senior vice president & head of sub-Saharan Africa at Visa, said She’s Next is aimed at helping women-owned businesses thrive, stressing that the grant would give women access to areas where women-owned firms are under-represented.
“Through this programme we aim to ensure that women are not only recipients but become decision-makers where institutional funding for businesses is concerned,” she said.