IFC Invests $25m in Africa-focused Private Equity Fund to Support Women Entrepreneurs

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group (WBG) financing arm, stated last Wednesday that it will make an equity investment of up to €25 M in the Mediterrania Capital Partners’ Mediterrania MC IV fund, with the possibility of investing another €20 M later on, according to “Ahram Online” website.

The IFC announced during its Vice President Sérgio Pimenta’s two-day visit to Cairo, which concluded last Tuesday.
The IFC said the equity investment is meant to support the development of medium-sized companies in Africa, with a special focus on firms run or led by women.

The Mediterranean MC IV fund will invest at least 25% of its capital in businesses owned or led by women. In the Middle East and Africa, only 6% of all private equity capital is allocated to women-led businesses.

Founded in 2013, Mediterrania Capital Partners is a private equity firm headquartered in Malta. It focused on growth investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-cap companies in Africa.

Al Tadamun Partners with IFC to Foster Egypt’s Smallest Women-Owned Enterprises

Building on over ten years of partnership, IFC announced an agreement with Egypt’s Al Tadamun Microfinance Foundation to help the company digitize and expand its services, including to the smallest women-owned businesses in the country.

Under the agreement, IFC will help Al Tadamun, which focuses on supporting women micro-entrepreneurs, design and pilot a program to reach women-run enterprises with one to three employees, an important segment in Egypt that is rarely served by banks or other formal financial institutions.

IFC will also help Al Tadamun develop a five-year business plan to guide its expansion and digitize its customer experience, products, and delivery channels, helping the company reach even more clients.

Financial inclusion, particularly microfinance, empowers women to start saving, build businesses, and strengthen communities – which is especially important in Egypt in particular, where many women are the sole breadwinner of the family.

Over the past decade, IFC has provided advisory services to Al Tadamun Microfinance Foundation to help the company increase its sustainability and expand its outreach to women across Egypt. Since its establishment in 1996, Al Tadamun has helped improve the lives of nearly two million women by providing the necessary financing to help them expand their microenterprises.

The project announced is funded by the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Facility, a joint World Bank Group initiative that promotes sustainable job creation and private sector-led economic growth. Governments of Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK collectively support the facility.

IFC has a growing portfolio of nearly $1.4 billion in investment projects and $32 million in advisory programs in Egypt, which support the private sector in key areas such as climate finance, manufacturing, infrastructure & renewable energy, healthcare, and gender.

“Micro-finance has proven to be a very effective tool to support the financially marginalized,” said Mona Zulficar, the Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of Al Tadamun Microfinance Foundation. “We are excited to continue our long-term relationship with IFC and eager to build upon the work that has been done in the past to serve new segments, expand our outreach, and ultimately contribute to improving the lives of the women we serve.”

“Women have long struggled to access the finance they need to start and grow their business, even though they make a significant contribution to economic and social growth,” said Cheick-Oumar Sylla, IFC Regional Director for North Africa and Horn of Africa. “This project, which builds on our long-term partnership with Al Tadamun, demonstrates IFC’s commitment to supporting even the smallest private enterprises and helping them realize their full potential.”


CIB supports Egypt’s renewable energy transition

CIB supports Egypt’s renewable energy transition

According to Daily News, the Commercial International Bank (CIB) announced contributed to the financing of Amunet Wind Power Company’s (AWPC) 500 MW wind farm on the shores of the Red Sea.

This comes in light of the recently concluded UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) and Egypt’s strategy to expand renewable energy sources in line with the government’s Nexus of Water, Food, and Energy (NWFE) program. The project’s construction is expected to start in December 2022 and last for 30 months.

As the working capital bank, onshore security agent, and onshore account bank, CIB collaborates with a group of international institutions that includes the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Standard Chartered Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, all of which are covered by the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).

The 500 MW wind farm — which is being developed by Dubai-based renewable energy company AMEA Power in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation — will be the largest clean energy plant in Egypt and Africa. The project, which aims to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and accelerate its transition to renewable energy, will serve thousands of Egyptians.

The CIB’s extensive experience in the renewable energy sector, combined with its participation in such a critical project, demonstrates the bank’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of sustainable change and highlighting its unwavering efforts to actively promote its environmental, social, and governance financing.

New report highlights the private sector response to promoting gender equality in the Arab States

Cairo – In partnership with the UN Global Compact and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States published the Bridging the Gap in the Arab States report on emerging private sector response and recovery measures for gender equality, a companion piece to the global publication of UN Women and IFC ‘Bridging the Gap – Emerging Private Sector Response and Recovery Measures for Gender Equality amid COVID-19 (2020)

The report provides examples of good practices from a growing number of businesses in the Arab States that are taking gender-responsive action to ensure the economic inclusion and social well-being of their employees, customers, and suppliers, as well as local communities. By adopting a holistic and intersectional approach, the report presents the good practices of private sector companies across six diverse thematic pillars that can ultimately contribute to achieving better business outcomes, lowering turnover and absenteeism rates in the workplace, and increasing productivity levels in the workplace.

The six thematic pillars are: promoting well-being and mental health; providing flexibility and family-friendly policies; enabling equal access and use of digital technologies and platforms; ensuring equal access to financial and non-financial services; strengthening inclusive supply chains and support for women-led businesses; and addressing, preventing and mitigating gender-based violence.

Welcoming the release of the report, the Regional Director for UN Women in the Arab States, Ms. Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, said “the economic crisis as result of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted different regions, countries, and populations differently. However, we do see one common thread, namely that women have borne the brunt of job losses and increases in unpaid care, as well as exposure to violence. We know from the evidence that women’s economic inclusion and increased labour force participation can significantly impact and accelerate the region’s socio-economic recovery, and hence address the negative consequences of the economic crisis. Therefore, UN Women emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the private sector to advance and promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and communities. We are pleased to see that a growing number of companies in the region share this commitment, and applaud the more than 350 companies that have already signed the CEO Statement of Support to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), forming part of a global platform of close to 6,500 members that are taking action towards women’s economic empowerment.”

“Ensuring women have a seat at the table is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business,” said Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. “With the private sector facing uncertainty around the world, instilling workplace policies that address the gender gap will support businesses while promoting the sustainable growth of the global economy.”

Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General & CEO of the UN Global Compact said “while we are all navigating uncharted waters with the current converging crises of the world, one thing is for certain: to build forward better, we must build forward in a more gender inclusive way. Together, we can disrupt gender stereotypes and ensure that women and girls are empowered in business and beyond.”

The report makes a regional call to action for business leaders to introduce and implement necessary gender-sensitive policies and measures to address the gender gap. A gender-responsive business environment will translate into sustainable and inclusive development that will be more resilient to potential future socio-economic shocks.