The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Standard Bank Group has launched the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF), which has received its first commitment of $60 million.

According to Standard Bank Group, the fund’s purpose is to overcome the barriers and investor biases in the asset management industry, by enabling and promoting women-owned and women-led funds on the African continent. The $60 million is to be allocated to the AWIF to support the initiative’s long-term ambitions. The AWIF is supported by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Motor Industry Retirement Funds, Copartes Pension Fund and the African Union Commission.

“AWIF aims to address the fundamental gap in women’s access to financial tools,” says Antonio Pedro, acting executive secretary at ECA. “As a result, the fund contributes to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 1 that calls for an end to poverty. Supporting emerging African female fund managers will accelerate the representation of women-led funds. This will help close the current gender gap in labour markets, promote the emergence of women fund managers and entrepreneurs, address identified barriers to attracting capital in a sustainable manner, and increase economic output, job creation, and women’s economic empowerment and prosperity.”