• SheInvest has mobilised €2 billion of gender-responsive financing in Africa in less than three years
  • Additional €2 billion target for SheInvest and geographical scope extended to Asia and Latin America
  • New cooperation signed with the Development Bank of Rwanda under the African Women Rising Initiative

Speaking at the Finance in Common Summit in Abidjan, Thomas Östros, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), announced the extension of the Bank’s SheInvest initiative to mobilise another €2 billion of gender-responsive investment across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In less than three years since the launch of SheInvest at the end of 2019, the EIB has mobilised a total of €2 billion of investment to boost gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Africa, together with its partners on the continent and through Team Europe.

EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros said: “I am very proud of what the SheInvest initiative has achieved over the past three years. It has been a game changer in our EIB support for women-led enterprises across Africa. Combining this success with our track record of gender projects in Asia and Latin America as well — ranging from gender-responsive metro projects in India, to access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Brazil — it was a natural next step for us to not only raise the bar in monetary terms, but also geographically expand this initiative.”

SheInvest is complemented by a €2 million technical assistance programme, the African Women Rising Initiative, which provides capacity building and mentoring to women entrepreneurs and supports intermediaries in designing financial and non-financial services tailored to their needs in sub-Saharan Africa.

Under this initiative, the EIB and the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) are today signing a new cooperation agreement that will enable BRD to increase access to finance for women and develop targeted advisory services for women entrepreneurs in micro to small and medium-sized enterprises in the country. The two banks already jointly financed a €30 million long-term facility at the end of 2021 to help companies impacted by COVID-19.

BRD Chief Executive Officer Kampeta Sayinzoga said: “At BRD, we have a saying — ‘the best gift you can give a woman, is the gift of choice.’ With the African Women Rising Initiative, we are excited to give women-led enterprises the gift of financial choice, by implementing policies and a strategy that provides them with access to finance, capacity building and mentoring. It is, therefore, our pleasure to join hands with the European Investment Bank in this effort to design and offer financial services tailored to women’s needs in our region. Championing gender equality and equity in financial services is the direction we are taking for the goals we want to achieve for women empowerment.”

Vice-President Östros added: “I am delighted to strengthen our cooperation with the Development Bank of Rwanda to provide much-needed advisory and mentoring services to women entrepreneurs in the country. Investing with a gender lens is essential to build stronger societies and achieve greater development impact.”

Thanks to this new cooperation, the EIB and BRD will jointly define strategic objectives and key performance indicators to mainstream gender equality considerations in the lending and advisory activities of BRD, with the aim to further enhance women’s economic empowerment in Rwanda.

Rolled out in Uganda, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Rwanda, the African Women Rising Initiative helps local banks and microfinance institutions in designing, establishing and actively promoting gender-intelligent financial and non-financial products and services better tailored to the needs of women entrepreneurs, with the desired outcome of increased women’s economic empowerment in the selected countries.

Investments under SheInvest are guided by the 2X Challenge criteria applied by the EIB to increase the impact of its financing for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in developing countries. The 2X Challenge criteria have been endorsed by the G7 development finance institutions, among others. 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.

Background information

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Set up at the beginning of 2022, EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. It is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society.



To improve the impact of its activities on women and girls, the EIB has 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 European Union.

More information on EIB gender equality initiatives

About the 2X Challenge

The 2X Challenge calls for the G7 and other development finance institutions 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 in mid-2020 by committing and mobilising €4.5 billion in capital towards women’s economic empowerment.

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

More information on the 2X Challenge

About the Development Bank of Rwanda PLC

The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) PLC is Rwanda’s only national development finance institution with a mandate to ensure that the private sector plays its role in sectors critical to achieving the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing affordable, long-term, customised development finance. Turning 55 this year, the Bank has contributed to the country’s economic growth and development through financial and non-financial investments in key growth areas. It progressively realigns itself to ensure relevance, enhanced value creation, competitiveness, and the sustainability of its operations. Through its financial and non-financial products and services, the Bank supports small, medium and large enterprises directly or through other financial institutions to reach a wider market base.

BRD has seven key intervention areas including energy, agriculture, exports, housing and infrastructure, education, climate change and digital economy. The Bank’s product and service offerings include investment loans, grants, guarantees, trade finance and advisory services.