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Global gender finance initiative sets ambitious new $15bn fundraising goal

Africa Global Funds
June 10, 2021, 11:37 a.m.
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The 2X Challenge, founded by the Development Finance Institutions of the G7 nations, has announced that it would raise at least $15bn for gender-lens investment by the end of 2022 after surpassing its original target by 100%.

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The 2X Challenge, founded by the Development Finance Institutions of the G7 nations, has announced that it would raise at least $15bn for gender-lens investment by the end of 2022 after surpassing its original target by 100%.

The organisation raised $7bn between 2018 and 2020 and mobilised another $3bn from private investors that had recognised the value of investing in women in the developing world.  

Jessica Espinoza, Chair of the 2X Challenge and Vice President, Investments at DEG, said: “The incredible increase in gender lens investing that the 2X Challenge is unlocking in this next phase will play a vital role in creating equitable, resilient, sustainable economies in the post-COVID-19 recovery. Investing in women is good business – and a catalyst for achieving all of the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Over the last three years, there have been over 200 deals that have qualified for 2X investment.

Latin American businesses secured the most 2X funding followed by Sub-Saharan Africa where the volume of deals have quadrupled over the last 12 months.

Jen Braswell, Director of Value Creation at CDC and Co-Chair of the 2X Steering Committee, said: “The 2X framework is becoming the gold standard for global gender-lens investing. The role of DFIs and impact investors in leading this charge has been key to promoting adoption across a growing group of mainstream capital providers.”

Since the 2X Challenge was founded by CDC (UK), Proparco (France), JICA and JBIC (Japan), DFC (US), FinDev Canada (Canada), DEG (Germany) and CDP (Italy), other DFIs have joined the organisation including, Swedfund (Sweden), FinnFund (Finland), FMO (the Netherlands), SIFEM (Switzerland), IFU (Denmark) BIO (Belgium) and, as an early multilateral endorser, the European Investment Bank (EIB).

New members joining this next round the 2X Challenge are the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Austrian Development Bank (OeEB).

A core aspect of the 2X initiative is the establishment of the 2X Criteria, which has quickly become a global industry standard for gender-lens investing defining what ‘good’ looks like.

Most recently, the 2X Criteria have been aligned with the OECD’s well-established DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker to promote further harmonisation and accountability in financing for gender equality.

Projects supported under the scheme include PEG Africa, a solar power company providing home systems to customers in West Africa, for which the UK’s CDC has invested $12.5m.

As a result of the 2X Challenge, in Ghana the company has doubled the number of women in leadership positions from 22% to 44%.

Another example is Enda Tamweel, Tunisia's leading microfinance institution.

The company has received 2X financing from a number of DFIs to promote access to microcredit for women.

Since 1995, Enda Tamweel has allocated over 2.8 million microcredits to 730,000 microentrepreneurs.

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