>@Brian Power
©Brian Power

The 2X Challenge is a multilateral initiative launched during the G7 Charlevoix Summit in June 2018 with the ambitious objective of deploying and mobilising unprecedented amounts of capital to support projects that empower women as entrepreneurs, as business leaders, as employees and as consumers of products and services that enhance their economic participation.

The EIB became the first multilateral development bank to endorse and use the 2X Criteria in October 2019.

Just two years after the launch of the 2X Challenge, the initiative has committed and mobilised a total $4.5 billion in gender-smart investments. Founding G7 DFIs contributed and mobilized $4.1 billion, surpassing the initial target of $3 billion by the end of 2020.

With additional members having joined the 2X Challenge and a new set of guidance designed to help financiers manage the gendered impacts of their investments; the and 2X Reference Guide for Investors, the momentum to advance women’s economic participation and empowerment continues to grow.

The remarkable results of the 2X Challenge clearly indicate that more can be done by DFIs and private sector financiers to foster gender equality and women’s economic participation in the developing world. However, gender-smart investors face unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts health, economic and financial systems on a global scale, magnifying pre-existing gender inequalities and vulnerabilities.In addition, recent racial justice movements have highlighted the need for a more proactive strategy to tackle global injustices and inequalities as well as systemic racism. The 2X Challenge recognises that gender equality cannot truly be achieved if other forms of discrimination and inequity exist. Conversations are currently taking place to determine concrete ways to use the 2X Challenge platform and framework to drive and foster greater diversity – including, but not limited to, gender diversity.

>@EIB
©EIB

Background information

In the past year, the 2X Challenge has gained significant traction, with a growing number of members and supporters joining the initiative. In addition to its founding members, development finance institutions (DFIs) from the G7 countries – CDC Group (UK), CDP (Italy), DEG (Germany), DFC (USA), FinDev Canada, JBIC (Japan), JICA  (Japan) and Proparco (France), – in May of 2019 the group welcomed four additional members to the challenge: the DFIs of the Netherlands (FMO), Sweden (Swedfund), Finland (Finnfund) and Denmark (IFU).

In October 2019, the 2X Challenge announced that two additional investors had joined the 2X Challenge, with the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) joining the 2X Challenge as a new member and the European Investment Bank (EIB) endorsing the 2X Criteria. At the end of 2019, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO) became the newest DFI to join.

DEG (Germany) will be stepping in as the 2X Challenge’s new Chair, succeeding FinDev Canada.