Today, much of the development work done by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, centers on the empowerment of women. That’s because women are key to economic growth. “As we invest in women, and as they invest in their families, we invest in better societies together,” said Bonnie Glick, USAID Deputy Administrator. “Because one thing that we've learned is that when a woman earns a dollar, she puts 90 cents back into her family.”
At the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, USAID and Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC, launched a partnership with Women’s World Banking to create the Women's World Banking Asset Management blended-finance fund. OPIC is providing 25 million dollars to the fund while USAID will contribute 500,000 dollars in catalytic funding and 100,000 dollars in technical assistance to the fund.
“The blended finance approach offers USAID an effective tool to empower women to reach their full economic potential, and to create more self-reliant communities,” said Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick:
“Used properly, blended finance channels private capital into areas where it can have a positive impact while generating solid returns. It develops markets and builds local commitment and capacity to plan, finance, and implement solutions to their own development challenges.”
“The idea behind our engagement here with Women's World Banking is to serve as a catalyst, and that's what blended finance does,” said Deputy Administrator Glick. “It provides the initial seed capital that allows other investors to come to the table with more zeros at the end of their engagements.”
“The fund is projected to raise 100 million dollars to expand women's access to financial services. The blended finance vehicle is designed to attract private capital in developing markets by offering protection to commercial investors and lowering the risk of loss. The fund will lead to increased financial inclusion for low-income women in Africa, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific region. More women will have access to loans, develop credit, build their savings, and purchase insurance, which are all critical to breaking the poverty cycle and promoting self-reliance.”
“By investing in women,” said Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, “USAID is enabling countries to progress beyond assistance, by unlocking human potential on a transformational scale.”