The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) today announced its second funding allocations – expected to benefit 70,000 women-led businesses and mobilize nearly a billion dollars of additional public and private sector resources.
The second round allocates US$129 million for programs to boost women’s entrepreneurship that will be implemented by four multilateral development banks, expecting to mobilize US$990 million of additional funds from other public and private sources.
The African Development Bank received US$61.8 million for activities covering 21 African countries; the Asian Development Bank received US$20.2 million for activities in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji; the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development received US$22.9 million for activities in low-income Central Asian countries; and the Inter-American Development Bank received US$24.28 million for activities in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.
This compliments the first round of We-Fi funds announced in April 2018, which allocated US$120 million for projects implemented by the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank to tackle the barriers facing women entrepreneurs across developing countries. Together, the two allocations aim to reach 115,000 women entrepreneurs and mobilize US$2.6 billion in additional public and private sector resources, ten times the resources allocated by We-Fi’s 14 donor governments.
“We-Fi is the first of its kind – a large-scale, multi-stakeholder partnership designed to address obstacles facing women entrepreneurs through comprehensive, sustainable solutions,” said Geoffrey Okamoto, Chair of the We-Fi Governing Committee and Acting Assistant Secretary for International Finance and Development at the United States Department of the Treasury. “The idea is not to fund individual women entrepreneurs, but to fund projects that disrupt the systemic causes of financial obstacles to women’s entrepreneurship.”
“When we unleash women’s economic potential, they increase global growth, prosperity and peace,” said World Bank Group Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva. “We-Fi has exceeded all targets in mobilizing billions of dollars of financing for women entrepreneurs, including in the most challenging environments. I look forward to continuing this momentum, because when women succeed, everyone benefits.”
Seventy percent of the current We-Fi funding allocation will benefit women entrepreneurs in IDA countries and countries affected by fragility and conflict.