We-Fi is a collaborative partnership among 14 governments, eight multilateral development banks (MDBs), and other public and private sector stakeholders, hosted by the World Bank Group. It seeks to address financial and non-financial constraints faced by women-owned/led small and medium enterprises in developing countries.
The founding financial contributors are: Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. These 14 governments have committed over $350 million to launch the facility’s activities.
We-Fi finances projects, programs, and activities that are aligned with its objectives and principles. Project implementation is led by Implementing Partners that are screened and accredited by the We-Fi Governing Committee. Under the first call for proposals, the following MDBs were eligible to apply as Implementing Partners: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Invest, International Finance Corporation, Islamic Development Bank Group, and World Bank (the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association). MDBs are encouraged to partner with UN agencies, international financial institutions, civil society organizations, business groups, and/or other entities currently working in this field to help implement activities.
We-Fi is overseen by a Governing Committee comprising representatives from the governments of the 14 founding contributors as decision-makers, with other key stakeholders participating as observers. Observers include UN Women, W20, and select members from the private sector and civil society organizations, in addition to Implementing Partners. The Governing Committee is chaired by an elected member serving for a term of one year.
The Governing Committee supervises strategic programming, fund management, and development of operational policies and procedures.
The Secretariat facilitates the work of We-Fi. It is housed at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.. The Secretariat’s responsibilities include:
Facilitating the funding allocation process
The Secretariat issues calls for proposals, provides guidance to Implementing Partners, receives and screens funding requests before transmitting them to the Governing Committee for consideration and, supports an independent technical panel to assess the quality of proposals.
Tracking Implementing Partners’ progress and monitoring the We-Fi Results Framework
The Secretariat collects Implementing Partners’ results and produces an annual report. It publicly discloses results on the We-Fi website and supports the Governing Committee in commissioning a mid-term review and final independent evaluation.
Ensuring smooth conduct of Governing Committee meetings
The Secretariat sets the date and location of meetings, informs members, prepares and circulates relevant materials, proposes decisions for consideration and prepares meeting summaries. The Secretariat can support the Governing Committee to make decisions on a no-objection basis by sending the needed documentation and proposing a decision date.
Managing partnerships and stakeholder engagement and liaising with the Trustee and Implementing Partners
The Secretariat assists the Trustee in day-to-day administration of the FIF. It notifies the Trustee of Allocations approved by the Governing Committee and provides other information as necessary. In addition, it manages relations with Contributors in consultation with the Trustee, and with the Implementing Partners and other relevant stakeholders.
The World Bank also serves as the Trustee for We-Fi. As the legal owner and administrator, the Trustee:
Receives funds from Contributors and holds those funds pursuant to agreed terms;
With the approval of the Governing Committee, the Trustee transfers We-Fi resources to the Implementing Partners:
Provides regular reports on We-Fi’s financial status to the Governing Committee.
Receives information necessary to perform its functions from the Secretariat.
Is accountable to the Governing Committee for the performance of We-Fi funds.