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We-Fi Annual Report 2020: Breaking Down Barriers | View Report

The World Bank Group (WBG) was granted $75 million for its program “Creating Finance and Markets for All”, with $49 million allocated to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to lead private-sector initiatives, and $26 million allocated to the World Bank to lead public-sector activities. Over half of the funds allocated to the WBG is dedicated to International Development Association (IDA) eligible countries and conflict affected states where women struggle most to grow their small and medium businesses, in 25 countries including Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The approach is organized around three pillars: (i) strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems, (ii) expanding financial services, and (iii) improving market access. The program is pursuing ambitions targets: to reach 43,000 women entrepreneurs, catalyze $870 million in loans to WSMEs, and to leverage a total of $1.5 trillion in additional financing in support of women’s entrepreneurship. The program commenced in June 2018 with projects that will be implemented by IFC and the World Bank over five to seven years.

The World Bank’s $26 million We-Fi program is implementing 24 projects in eight selected country projects (in Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia), regional initiatives in MENA and West Africa, and global activities to undertake data collection, impact evaluations, learning and policy dialogue, and advocacy. These efforts span the three joint WBG pillars and seek to leverage and ensure synergies with IFC private sector engagements.

IFC is rolling out scalable commercial solutions with about 50 private sector clients. This includes mobilizing capital targeted at supporting WSMEs, advising financial institutions and corporates on how to more effectively engage this segment, and developing innovative models to sustainably expand financial services and market access for women entrepreneurs. From its We-Fi budget for client engagements, IFC anticipates allocating about 60% to investment activities and the rest to advisory services across the program pillars. In addition, IFC will undertake activities around data collection, program monitoring and evaluation. The pipeline of advisory and investment operations includes: loans to banks in Vietnam and India, a We-Fi performance rebate to incentivize banks to expand loans to WSMEs, a risk-sharing facility to a bank in Kosovo, and blended finance to a global fund focused on WSMEs. Partnerships have been forged with business accelerators Village Capital and Flat 6 Labs; the Global Banking Alliance for Women; and WEConnect to expand supplier diversity in procurement contracts

The World Bank Group (World Bank and IFC) received $16.01 million for a digitally enabled access to finance and markets program for women-led business in the Sahel region and globally, and an early-stage finance program supporting women entrepreneurs in several regions. The first program will foster market linkages between suppliers and buyers across the Sahel. It will provide services and training to women-led shea butter cooperatives on know-how, managerial capacity, networks, and marketing tools as well as support the digitization of payment systems. The second program seeks to create an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, addresses financing gaps, and assists with skills-building and mentoring of women entrepreneurs. Activities for these programs will be implemented in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Jordan, Iraq, and globally.

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