British International Investment
2 November 2018

CDC at the Gender-Smart Investing Summit

On 1 and 2 November CDC was an anchor supporter of the world’s first Gender-Smart Investing Summit, held in London.  The summit brought together a wide range of gender lens investors to discuss how to unlock barriers and drive capital towards gender equality.

As the UK’s development finance institution, CDC invests in private sector companies in Africa and South Asia with the aim of supporting the economic development and prosperity that will help countries leave poverty behind.

At the heart of building sustainable and inclusive businesses lies the need to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, which is why it is a key objective of CDC’s five-year strategy.

CDC representatives were involved in leading and facilitating a number of sessions at the summit, including our CEO, Nick O’Donohoe who provided the closing remarks on day one of the summit and our Chairman, Graham Wrigley who sat on the plenary panel on Friday morning.

“I’m so pleased that we’re starting to see increasing volumes of capital being channelled into investments that support and serve women. Considering women as part of any business (whether as business owners, leaders, workforce or consumers) is not just a ‘nice to have’ as an investor – it is critical for commercial performance and to help close the global gender gap. As early adopters of gender smart investing, we at CDC are ready to rise to the challenge of contributing to and building the evidence that investing in women helps create sustainable businesses and economies.”

Nick O’Donohoe, CDC CEO

To contribute to the knowledge base, CDC has shared its approach to how it seeks to advance women’s economic empowerment throughout the investment lifecycle. The framework is a value-chain framework which identifies gender-smart interventions across the corporate value chain from boards and management to employees, suppliers, consumers and the community. The framework helps a business to identify how it can achieve more growth and impact by considering how women interact with their commercial activity in a more deliberate way.

Nick O’Donohoe speaking at the Gender-Smart Investing Summit


Other key activities include:

2X challenge
The 2X Challenge is an ambitious commitment from the G7 DFIs to mobilise US$3 billion by 2020 for investment in business activities that will benefit women. DFIs from the G7 countries – FinDev Canada, the United Kingdom (CDC), the United States (Overseas Private Investment Corporation – OPIC), Italy (Cassa depositi e presiti – Cdp), France (Proparco) and Japan (JBIC and JICA), with support from Germany (DEG). Those who have signed up the challenge have now confirmed the eligibility criteria and will start publishing against it.

Gender Finance Collaborative
CDC initiated and chairs the Gender Finance Collaborative (GFC), a new collaboration of 15 DFIs, who have come together with a collective goal to support the development of shared financing principles, definitions and methodologies that promote the integration of “gender smart” decision-making into our investment processes and our own operations.

While each DFI is on its own journey with varying commitments and levels of capacity, our collective goal is to increase the strategic impact of investment capital toward women as business and fund leaders, entrepreneurs, within a strong and valued workforce, as consumers and community members.

The Collaborative is committed to supporting and sharing experiences with each other in context of the unique needs of the DFI community and the internal and external capacity building required to advance this work. The GFC will also support the development of the field by partnering with other relevant organisations, programmes and initiatives.

The Collaborative has a link to the G7 2X Challenge as the key organising members of the 2X Challenge are members of the Collaborative.

A Joint Commitment Statement for the Collaborative has been signed by most of the members with others in process.

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