Africa Trust Group (ATG) launches Gender Lens Angel Investment Fund

  • Investment opportunities in Africa are evident by the keen interest and investment flows the continent seen in the recent decades from both the East and the West
  • The fund is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals of gender equality and access to decent work and economic growth
  • The fund will pilot 4 women businesses in the SADC, Zambia and SA will be prioritized

The Africa Trust Group last week announced the launch of its gender-lens angel investment fund, the Africa Trust Fund. This was done at the recently concluded SADC development finance high-level regional conference hosted by the Chartered Institute of Development Finance (CIDEF) and Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) at Vulindlela Conference Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Speaking at the event, ATG Principal (Current ZOONA Chairperson for Zambia) Lelemba Phiri said that the gender-lens fund would take a blended finance approach by combining capital from public institutions and private philanthropic sources to increase investment in early stage women founded and/or led businesses in the SADC region. Lelemba has been very instrumental in championing initiatives that better the lives of the woman folk in southern and central Africa during her clock at ZOONA regional chief executive and chief marketing officer  over the last decade.

(L-R) Mr Neville Matjie, CEO – Trade and Investment KZN; Professor Bikpe, Founder – CIDEF; Mrs Lelemba Phiri, Principal – Africa Trust Group; Mr Meluleki Nzimande, Chief Commissioner – International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa.

“Across the world we see a lag in the participation of women in economic activity and this is more so pronounced here in Africa. We understand that with women in Africa there are many dimensions that hamper their participation and ability to thrive in business – from cultural and social beliefs and norms to barriers around access to finance, technology and education. With this fund our aim will be to take a holistic approach to investing in women by investing both in developing the woman entrepreneur and the enterprise and facilitating their access to critical business tools as well as access to markets.” 

Phiri stressed that the fund will aim to level the playing field by enabling access to what the women entrepreneurs need to thrive in business whilst understanding and incorporating for their unique social and cultural circumstances.

Commenting on taking a blended finance approach Lelemba Phiri said:

“There are a lot of opportunities for investment in Africa. It is evident by the keen interest and investment flows the continent has seen in the recent decades from both the East and the West. And yet very few Africans are able to participate in investing in these opportunities because we do not sufficiently leverage our collective capital. By taking a blended finance approach it is our hope that the fund will allow the different types of capital, whether individual or institutional, impact or commercial oriented, to invest alongside each other to enable the growth of women enterprises in the region whilst achieving their own objectives whether predominantly financial or social.”

Mrs Phiri emphasized that it would take concerted effort from individuals, private, public and civic society organisations to support the acceleration of women’s participation in economic activity in the SADC region in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 5 (gender equality) and 8 (access to decent work and economic growth).

“The issues of gender equality and access to decent work and economic growth for women is not a task that can be left to government or development finance institutions alone to solve. It will require joint efforts from individuals; private and public sector; government and DFIs; and civic society to push the needle forward. The launching of this fund therefore is our part as a private sector player to support the acceleration of SDGs 5 and 8 in the SADC region and contribute to moving the efforts from conversation and policy to investing in women and facilitating their participation in regional trade. It’s definitely time to put our money where our mouths are.”

About ATG: The Africa Trust Group (ATG) is a SADC-focused regional business and trade facilitation organization. It supports local enterprise development through business research and training; facilitating access to markets; and investing in women. ATG is based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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