Over 200 businesses in the developing world received investment over the last three years
WASHINGTON – The 2X Challenge, founded by the Development Finance Institutions of the G7 nations, today announced that it would raise $15 billion for gender-lens investment after surpassing its original target by 100 percent.
At the launch of the new 2X Challenge today, the organization said it would seek to raise at least a further $15 billion by the end of 2022 as new members joined its ranks.
The organization said it had raised $7 billion between 2018 and 2020 and mobilized another $3 billion from private investors that had recognized the value of investing in women in the developing world.
Over the last 3 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.
The founders of the 2X Challenge said today that the significantly more ambitious new goal underlined the success of investing with a gender lens to support women to access good quality jobs, build resilient businesses and manage the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the launch of the new 2X Challenge target, Bogolo Kenewendo, the celebrated global economist and former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry in Botswana, said: "The design and implementation of COVID-19 economic recovery plans provides a unique opportunity to work on economic structural transformation with a goal of promoting inclusive economies through women's economic agency. We should not waste this moment."
Even before the pandemic, women in emerging economies had significantly fewer economic and business opportunities than men. COVID-19 has compounded this, with new research showing $1 trillion could be lost from global growth if female workers in sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic do not return to the workforce.
A growing body of evidence suggests that identifying effective ways to support women as entrepreneurs, leaders, employees, and consumers will increase gender equity, reduce poverty, and promote more inclusive and robust economic growth. Women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined.
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).”
“DFC is committed to addressing the unique challenges facing women globally and to unlocking the incredible investment opportunities that result from valuing women as entrepreneurs, leaders, employees, and customers,” said Algene Sajery, Vice President of DFC's Office of External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives. “The 2X Challenge is critical to our success, and DFC is excited to help launch its next phase and contribute to the new $15 billion target.”
Since the 2X Challenge was founded by DFC (US), CDC (UK), Proparco (France), JICA and JBIC (Japan), 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 the European Investment Bank (EIB). New members joining this next round of the 2X Challenge are the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, 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 harmonization 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 $12.5 million. 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. At the start of 2018, the institution was operating via a network of 86 branches and 3 mobile branches, serving 337,000 microentrepreneurs across the country.
Anyone interested in attending 2X launch event can register to do so here.
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.