• SheInvest reached its initial target to support a total of €1 billion in gender-lens/gender responsive investment in Africa in just over a year
  • Complemented by the African Women Rising Initiative technical assistance programme
  • Focus on innovative digital solutions, climate financing and empowering female-led businesses

One year after the launch of its SheInvest initiative at the end of 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB) reached its initial target to mobilise a total of €1 billion in gender-lensinvestment that is set to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment across Africa. Given the success of its initiative, the EIB now commits to double its ambition and mobilise €2 billion of gender-responsive investment across the continent.

Building on its experience in northern and sub-Saharan African countries as well as in gender focused lending, the EIB is further stepping-up its efforts to increase investment in projects, sectors and markets that have a transformative effect on gender equality and can enhance the capacity of women to participate in the economy. Within SheInvest, the EIB is working closely  with its African, European and international partners, and notably through Team Europe.

SheInvest already provided women across Africa with better access to finance, as well as with services and products that are better geared towards their needs.

EIB President Werner Hoyer, said: “Female entrepreneurs play a key role in fostering economic growth around the world and especially in Africa. Doubling the ambition of SheInvest shows how much we are committed to support gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in and beyond Africa. Together with our partners on the continent and through Team Europe, we are contributing to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and furthering the EU development impact. I am convinced that by investing with a gender lens in projects, whether in digital, climate, water and health, we can have a transformational impact on the ground”.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, overseeing EIB’s development activities, said: “Unlocking the potential of women so that they can contribute fully to the economic activity is key to boosting Africa’s growth. I am very proud of the achievement of SheInvest. In just over a year, the EIB has provided credit lines via local banks in Uganda, Senegal and Benin, that will benefit female-led small enterprises.”

EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, overseeing EIB’s activities for development, diversity and inclusion, added: “Through SheInvest the EIB also invested in high impact funds, such as DPI’s African Development Partners III Fund that will promote access to finance and employment of women in portfolio companies, including tech start-ups founded or co-founded by women. I am delighted that we are continuing and increasing the ambition of SheInvest in line with the EU’s gender action plan and Global Europe targets”.

In addition, a Technical Assistance Programme, the African Women Rising Initiative, is complementing the financing provided through SheInvest. Rolled out in Uganda, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Rwanda, the technical assistance programme is providing capacity building and mentoring to women entrepreneurs and supporting intermediaries in designing financial and non-financial services tailored to their needs.

SheInvest also aims to promote gender-responsive climate financing, acknowledging the key role played by women in climate action and at the same time addressing their vulnerability to climate change impacts. Financing therefore targets climate and gender responsive infrastructure projects, such as projects enhancing women’s access to water, clean, reliable and affordable energy, as well as sustainable public transport. Mainstreaming gender considerations into these kinds of projects will help unlock transformative impacts on the lives of women across the continent.

Investment under SheInvest are guided by the 2X Challenge criteria endorsed by the EIB to increase the impact of its financing for gender equality and women economic empowerment in developing countries.

About the European Investment Bank

To improve the impact of its activities on women and girls, the EIB adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment and a  Gender Action Plan with the aim of embedding gender equality and, in particular women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model covering its lending, blending and advising work within and outside the EU.

More information on EIB gender equality initiatives

About the 2X Challenge

The “2X Challenge” calls for the G7 and other DFIs to collectively mobilise $3 billion to support women’s economic empowerment in developing countries by the end of 2020. The 2X Challenge exceeded its target mid 2020 by committing and mobilizing €4.5 billion in capital towards women’s economic empowerment. The EIB was the first multilateral development bank to join the 2X Challenge, as well as the Gender Finance Collaborative alongside our development finance partners.

Fulfilling one of the four criteria of the 2X challenge makes an investment eligible.