The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Standard Bank Group, with the support of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the Motor Industry Retirement Funds (MIRF) and Copartes Pension Fund and the African Union Commission (AUC), have announced the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF) Initiative’s achievement of its first commitment of USD$60 million.
The existence of gendered stereotypes and racial biases in society have detrimental effects globally. This holds true within the investment space where these prejudices obstruct female entrepreneurship, appointment of women in leadership roles, and empowerment of female fund managers. Of the $69.1 trillion of financial assets under management globally, less than 1.3% are managed by women and people of colour. It is increasingly alarming that only 7% of private equity and venture capital funding is allocated to women-led businesses in emerging markets.
The AWIF Initiative’s primary purpose is to overcome the systemic barriers and investor biases in the asset management industry, by enabling and promoting women-owned and women-led funds on the African continent.
The AWIF is an Initiative of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) together with its partners: UN Women, the Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, and the African Women Leadership Network. It has been established in collaboration with the Standard Bank Group as lead sponsor, MiDA Advisors as key strategic advisor, and RisCura as the investment manager and provider of manager development and support services.
The Initiative has a two-fold agenda of making a commercial impact for investors while empowering women financial leaders to drive growth in Africa. With a bold ambition to raise up to $1 billion over 10 years for women fund managers, who will in turn invest in high-impact sectors and projects across Africa, this first-of-its-kind initiative is well positioned to enable economic stimulus through sustainable and gender-inclusive capital growth opportunities.
Empowering Africa’s women in investment
The Standard Bank Group sees gender equity as both a fundamental human right and a business imperative. Lindeka Dzedze, Global Markets Head: Strategic Partnerships at Standard Bank and Chairperson of the AWIF Executive Committee explains: “Without the economic empowerment of women, the vision to raise Africa’s financial output cannot be realised. Understanding this, Standard Bank supports the AWIF Initiative to raise the profile of established women-owned and women-managed funds that participate in listed and private markets, and short-term private debt.”
As evidence of this commitment, the Standard Bank Group announced today at The Global Africa Business Initiative that $60 million will be allocated to the AWIF Initiative to accelerate its long-term ambitions.
Malcolm Fair, Chief Executive Officer at RisCura explains further: “We believe that investing with women-led asset managers supports empowerment for women in all of society. With 20 years’ experience in supporting diverse and start-up investment managers on the African continent, we are excited to manage the investments of the African Women Impact Fund and continue the journey of empowerment.”
He adds: “The commitment by African institutions to the AWIF Initiative assists us in attracting potential global institutional investors on the next fundraising drive.”
The initial $60m commitment to the Initiative includes $15m from BADEA, and $45m from The Motor Industry Retirement Funds (MIRF) and Copartes Pension Fund in South Africa. MIRF and Copartes have agreed to bring their $45m in assets recently allocated to developing start-up women fund managers in South Africa under the AWIF Initiative.
Adam Essat, MIRF and Copartes Principal Officer explains: “Through our initial commitment of $45m to the AWIF Initiative, we hope to show that institutions on the African continent believe in and support this Initiative and its objectives. We encourage global investors to take action and invest alongside us in facilitating diversity, development and empowerment in bright and unstoppable Africa.”
These funds will provide capital to existing women owners and women fund managers across different asset classes and African regions. Dr. Sidi Ould TAH Director General at BADEA says: “I believe this fund will accelerate fundraising and capital allocation by female fund managers on a transformative level. It is through barrier-braking initiatives such as these that together, we can create a sustainable and scalable investment environment that drives inclusive growth for all who live in Africa.”
Furthermore, it will give the AWIF Initiative the ability to take a big step forward in realising the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 and 8, which target gender equality, decent work, and economic growth, as well as the AU Agenda 2063.
“AWIF aims to address the fundamental gap in women’s access to financial tools. 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,” said Antonio Pedro, acting Executive Secretary, ECA.
Our continent’s growth drives global business
With a $2.5 trillion market opportunity, the African continent has been identified as the most important driver of global business The announcement of the first allocation of funds to the AWIF Initiative will attract and empower many talented female asset managers throughout Africa and set a precedent for a gender-inclusive asset management approach in the future.
Aymeric Saha, CEO of MiDA Advisors shared: “MiDA Advisors was honored to play a role in the creation of AWIF by facilitating the connection between all three key players in the Initiative – ECA, the Standard Bank Group, and RisCura. We feel that work on gender economic empowerment within the financial sector is not only a necessity for further economic development across the continent but is also wholly feasible with the right partnerships and programming. We look forward to the future successes of the fund managers selected, and to the impact they will in turn have in their home markets.”
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.
Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.
A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.
Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.
Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.