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Visa and African Women Impact Fund offer 55 grants

The new initiative will fund the working capital needs of women fund managers across South, East, and West Africa

Visa is offering a grant to fund the working capital needs of women fund managers across South, East, and West Africa. It is target 55 women who respond to a call from the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF), a collaboration between Standard Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). 

Visa’s grant to the AWIF is an extension of the She’s Next program, a global advocacy program for women-owned businesses that have been expanded to Sub-Saharan Africa to further champion and strengthen African women business owners as they build, sustain, and advance their businesses.

Women fund managers in Africa continue to face numerous challenges in building sustainable businesses. Research shows slow-moving progress in the visibility and inclusion of women fund managers due to systematic barriers and investor bias.  With African women accounting for just 7.6% of private equity and women-led businesses receiving only 7% of Private Equity (PE) and Venture Capital (VC) in emerging markets, this highlights the opportunities that exist to reduce the current gender gaps.

This is further reflected in the less than 1.3% of the $69.1 trillion global financial assets that are managed by women and people of colour.

‘’The aim of She’s Next is to help women-owned businesses thrive and our ambition with this grant is to enable access in a space where women-owned firms are under-represented,” says Aida Diarra, senior vice president and head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. “Through this programme, we aim to ensure that women are not only recipients but become decision-makers where institutional funding for businesses is concerned.”

Visa’s funding will be directed towards activities that will assist the business owners with improving their technical skillsets, becoming investible to larger institutional investors, and running profitable businesses that will in turn invest in others including small and medium businesses.

“The funding will ensure that these business owners are able to focus on growing their enterprises without the burden of managing short-term debt and other operational costs related to building a successful business.”

The grant to AWIF will address three areas:

         i.            Portfolio management capability: portfolio structuring, risk management and administration.

       ii.            Investment research capability: identifying investment opportunities, due diligence, mandate alignment, and continuous investment and operations monitoring and,

     iii.            Operational support: Operational and back-office support, human resourcing, systems implementation and vendor management.

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