WE Finance Code

Officially launched in October 2023 at the World Bank – IMF Annual Meetings in Marrakech, the WE Finance Code will be piloted in nearly 30 countries across the developing world.

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Code (the WE Finance Code or, simply, the Code) is a commitment by FSPs, regulators, development banks, and other financial ecosystem players to work together to increase funding provided to women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (WMSMEs) around the world, so that they can grow and add value to the economy and their communities.

The Opportunity

Over 400 million women entrepreneurs around the world have vast potential to grow their businesses, add value to the economy, and create jobs, but they lack the financing to achieve their goals. They represent a $1.7 trillion growth opportunity for financial service providers (FSPs) and $5-6 trillion in potential value addition to the global economy.

The Code was developed with finance leaders from more than 30 private and public sector organizations to build upon the success of the UK Investing in Women Code and close the finance and data gaps affecting women entrepreneurs.

The Code

Organizations can participate in the Code in a growing number of pilot countries or through a global mechanism. Code participants commit to:

  • LEADERSHIP: Designating a member of their senior management team to champion the organizations’ efforts to support women-led businesses

  • ACTION: Expanding and introducing new measures that will support women entrepreneurs

  • DATA: Monitoring and reporting annually a commonly agreed set of indicators on the level of financing provided to WMSMEs or supporting others’ efforts to do so

Coordinated by:
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), housed in the World Bank, coordinates the Code with its Implementing Partners and other global partners. A Global Advisory Group advises on implementation and governance.

Joining the Code

There are local and global channels for participating in the Code: Entities in countries with National Codes will participate through those National Codes, many of which will be launched in Spring 2024.  Global organizations may participate in the Global Code.

A wide range of financial ecosystem players can participate in the Code at the global and national levels to drive systemic change. The Code helps to align their efforts to create reinforcing incentives, maximize their impact and enable learning.

Financial Institutions

Banks, monetary financial institutions, FinTechs, VCs
  • Champion the Code’s launch in their market

  • Sign up to the Code

  • Contribute to peer learning and best practices sharing

National Actors

Regulators, policymakers, industry associations
  • Champion National Code with FSPs

  • Embed Code in financial inclusion strategy, policies

  • Enable data collection, reporting

  • Create incentives for financial institutions

Investors and Development Finance Institutions

  • Provide gender-lens financing and capacity building for FIs, Regulators, SSBs

  • Engage in high level advocacy & policy dialogue

Ecosystem

Standard setters, global organizations, donors and knowledge partners
  • Support Code adoption and implementation in areas of domain expertise

Financial Service Providers

  • Greater access to under-served growth segment

  • Recognition by clients, staff, investors, and ecosystem

  • Improved data-driven decision making and financial services for WMSMEs

  • Access to cross-sector networks and learning

National Actors

  • Increased financial inclusion of WMSMEs

  • Improved data and data‑driven policymaking

  • Improved incentives and alignment across the ecosystem

  • More diverse leadership in the financial sector

Investors & Other Stakeholders

  • More impact and gender-lens investment

  • Greater gender equality and women’s economic empowerment & leadership

  • Increased harmonization and standards globally

  • Stronger evidence, data and know how related to sex-disaggregated data.

Launching the Code in country

Local champions are encouraged to build national public‑private coalitions to introduce the Code in their country. These coalitions adapt the Code’s flexible framework to the local context, ensuring national relevance and uptake. They establish WMSME definitions and data reporting guidelines and use established channels to track and report progress.

We-Fi Implementing Partners are supporting the following countries to pilot the WE Finance Code: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mongolia, Morocco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Recognized National Code Coalitions have four common characteristics:

  • A public declaration of intent to introduce the Code in country, adhering to the minimum guidelines of the Code’s global framework.
  • Governance that creates oversight and accountability for local adoption of the Code.
  • Designated coordinator to oversee local implementation and interface with and report to the Code’s global coordinator.
  • A mechanism to aggregate data with integrity and in a format that will facilitate mainstreamin

Annual Country Reports are encouraged but optional.

Sample Letter of Commitment