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New funding will boost We-Fi’s fourth call for proposal to back WSME programs

June 30, 2021—The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) today welcomed a new commitment by the German government to supporting women-led businesses in developing economies. On the occasion of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, Germany’s Chancellor Merkel announced a new financial contribution of 25 million euro to We-Fi which, jointly with existing donor funding, will enable women entrepreneurs in over 60 developing countries to build back better and become more resilient to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

With this new commitment, Germany continues its leadership role in We-Fi, an international partnership hosted by the World Bank Group, involving 14 donor governments six multilateral development banks, and the private sector. We-Fi was launched under the German G20 presidency in 2017.

“Germany is working to ensure that women worldwide are enabled to participate more in economic and social life. That is the best way to tackle post-COVID recovery. The Chancellor’s announcement is an important signal in this regard. Germany will, for instance, support female entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding their businesses – through the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative. This initiative is planning projects in more than 60 countries, supporting over 130,000 female entrepreneurs. We want to further expand these achievements!” said German Development Minister Gerd Müller.

The new contribution comes as We-Fi launches today its fourth call for proposals, making available up to USD 50 million to through six multilateral development banks, to continue to support the Covid-19 recovery of women-led small and medium enterprises around the world. The focus will be on projects that provide access to finance, enable measuring and monitoring of gender financial data, and help women entrepreneurs use digital technologies to enhance resilience, innovate, and drive growth.

“I have seen the strength and resilience of women entrepreneurs in many parts of the world and how access to digital technologies and skills provide real breakthroughs. I believe female-led SMEs can spur inclusive economic growth which is crucial in our post-Covid economic and social recovery. We welcome the continued partnership with Germany and others as we assist women entrepreneurs realize their dreams”, said Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships, and a We-Fi Leadership Champion.

Access to finance remains one of the biggest hurdles for women-led businesses and more innovative financial products are necessary to overcome this challenge. We-Fi is also promoting ways to help women entrepreneurs use technologies to become more competitive and access new markets. Shifting to e-commerce and digital platforms can be a gamechanger for many women entrepreneurs.

We-Fi has a strategic goal of directing at least 50% of its resources to programs for women-owned/led SMEs in low-income and IDA-eligible countries as well as fragile and conflict-affected situations. Currently, We-Fi surpasses this goal abundantly with 65% of the funding allocated according to these criteria.

About We-Fi: The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a partnership that aims to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries. We-Fi’s partners include 14 donor governments, six multilateral development banks (ADB, AfDB, EBRD, IDB Group, IsDB and World Bank Group) as implementing partners, and numerous other stakeholders in the public and private sector around the world. We-Fi has allocated $300 million to programs that will benefit close to 130,000 WSMEs and mobilize $3 billion from the public and private sectors.

Further reading: Minister Müller: Germany steps up projects in support of women’s economic participation