2X Challenge Achieves Remarkable $16.3 Billion in Gender Lens Investments

2X Challenge Achieves Remarkable $16.3 Billion in Gender Lens Investments

(IN BRIEF) 2X Global, an initiative launched by Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), has exceeded its target of raising $15 billion in gender lens investments. From 2021 to 2022, the initiative raised a total of $16.3 billion, benefiting 473 businesses across Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Gender lens investments aim to improve women’s access to entrepreneurship, leadership opportunities, finance, and gender-smart products and services. 2X Global is now working to further enhance gender finance standards, collaborate with the industry, and launch a certification mechanism for transparency and rigor. Several success stories were highlighted, including Horizon Capital’s fund in Ukraine, Kashf Foundation in Pakistan, Just in Latin America, and DPI’s African Development Partners III Fund. These investments demonstrate the promotion of gender equality and economic opportunities for women.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 24-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, announces that the 2X Challenge, a prominent initiative launched by the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) as part of 2X Global, has surpassed its ambitious goal of raising US$ 15 Billion. Since 2021, the initiative has successfully raised a total of US$ 16.3 Billion in gender lens investments, benefiting 473 businesses across Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Gender lens investments play a crucial role in empowering women by providing improved access to entrepreneurship, leadership opportunities, decent employment, financial services, and gender-smart products and services that enhance their economic participation.

Looking ahead, 2X Global aims to further enhance gender finance and solidify its leadership in this field. Gender finance has gained significant prominence and become a strategic priority for various capital providers due to its strong business case and positive impact, as well as its close connection to climate finance.

The 2X investment criteria have emerged as a global industry standard, offering a shared definition and measurable metrics that align with other frameworks such as IRIS+, HIPSO, and WEPs. These criteria establish a clear benchmark for what constitutes “good” in gender finance.

2X Global is now collaborating with the global gender finance industry to advance its standards toward achieving “better” and “best-in-class” outcomes. In the coming months, the initiative will introduce a certification mechanism to enhance transparency, assurance, and rigor in gender finance.

Jessica Espinoza, CEO of 2X Global and Chair of the 2X Challenge said: “We are excited about the continued success of the 2X Challenge in unlocking gender-smart capital at scale. Today, 2X Global convenes over 100 member institutions across all global markets, so the moment has come to open up the next 2X Challenge to the full spectrum of investors. We look forward to the next chapter of the 2X Challenge with an audacious new target to be announced later this year.”

Thomas ÖstrosVice-President of the European Investment Bank, a member institution of the 2X Challenge said: “The impressive results of the 2X Challenge prove how much gender smart investment can shape a more equal and inclusive society. I am very proud that the EIB was the first Multilateral Development Bank to adopt the 2X Challenge criteria and that we have been joined by others. I am looking forward to crowding in further investment guided by the 2X Challenge criteria that will advance women’s economic empowerment and gender equality.”

Lori Kerr, CEO of FinDev Canada, one of the founding G7 DFIs of the initiative said: “The 2X Challenge has played a pivotal role in demonstrating the business and impact case of investing with a gender lens. 2X Global has quickly grown into a global industry body at the forefront of gender finance. We look forward to further scaling and deepening this impact by collaborating with 2X members.”

Highlighting the success stories of gender-smart investments under the 2X Challenge:

  1. Fostering innovation and resilience of gender-smart businesses in Ukraine: Horizon Capital’s HCGF IV, a fund dedicated to investing in fast-growing tech and export-oriented companies in Ukraine and the surrounding region, has been awarded the prestigious “2X Flagship Fund” status. Despite the challenging circumstances caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Horizon Capital raised US$ 254 million in investment capital and mobilized substantial humanitarian aid for the country. Anchor investments by select 2X member DFIs played a vital role in enabling these achievements. Horizon Capital has a track record of backing successful women-founded companies like Creatio and BetterMe.
  2. Tackling systemic inequity by providing access to capital and challenging gender norms in Pakistan: Kashf Foundation, a women-led and -owned financial institution in Pakistan, fully meets all the 2X criteria. With a female founder, a female CEO, and significant female representation across the organization, including the board and senior management, Kashf Foundation empowers women entrepreneurs by providing access to finance. In addition, the foundation has produced groundbreaking awareness campaigns on social issues through mainstream media, shedding light on gender inequity and positioning women as agents of change rather than victims.
  3. Women leading digital innovation for women in Latin America: Just, a women-owned and -led company operating across Latin America, has developed a technology platform that empowers women creators at the bottom of the pyramid. Through this platform, women gain access to global markets, expand their businesses, and sell their products at a premium to conscious customers. Just’s initiatives enable female-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to seize sales and development opportunities that are often inaccessible. The company also provides ongoing training and education to support the growth and capacity development of these women entrepreneurs.
  4. Championing economic opportunities for women in Africa: DPI’s African Development Partners III Fund (ADP III) was the first fund to receive the prestigious “2X Flagship Fund” status. DPI’s commitment to gender equity, combined with the fund’s commercial success, exemplifies the power of collaboration between DFIs and proactive fund managers to drive real development impact while generating commercial returns. DPI intentionally supports SDGs 5 (gender equality) and 10 (reduced inequalities) through its portfolio in Africa.

2X Global remains committed to its mission of promoting gender equality and advancing economic opportunities for women around the world. With its industry-leading standards and continuous efforts to enhance gender finance, the initiative is driving positive change and delivering both financial and social outcomes.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Set up at the beginning of 2022, EIB Global is the EIB Group’s new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. It is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society.

To improve the impact of its activities on women and girls, the EIB has adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment and a Gender Action Plan with the aim of embedding gender equality and, in particular, women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model covering its lending, blending and advising work within and outside the European Union.

More information on EIB gender equality initiatives

About 2X Global:

2X Global is a global membership and field-building organisation for investors, capital providers, and intermediaries working in public and private markets, across both developed and emerging economies. By working together with the full spectrum of investors, capital providers, mobilisers, and influencers, we shape the market on a whole new level, ultimately transforming systems of finance through the gender-smart deployment of capital across asset classes and markets.

About the 2X Challenge:

The 2X Challenge was founded by the G7 Development Finance Institutions as a call to action to shift more capital towards investments that empower women in developing countries to access entrepreneurship and leadership opportunities, quality jobs, and products and services that enhance their economic participation.

What is a 2X Flagship Fund?
Vehicles awarded status as 2X Flagship Funds are gender-smart funds, who are committed to both improving gender diversity in the investment industry (within the fund managers themselves) and also to investing with a gender lens to build gender-smart portfolios using the 2X criteria.


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SOURCE: European Investment Bank


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