2X Challenge: USD 2.5 billion mobilised for women’s economic empowerment
News from 2019-08-30 / DEG
DEG supports the “2X Challenge” – an initiative of development finance institutions of the G7 countries. Their aim is to jointly mobilise a total of USD 3 billion by 2020 for entrepreneurship and employment of women in developing countries.
One year after the launch of the 2X Challenge, development finance institutions have already mobilised around USD 2.5 billion for “gender-smart” investments.
DEG itself provided approximately USD 458 million in the first year of the 2X Challenge for companies that are owned or led by women or that particularly support women.
These include Georgian bank TBC Bank, which provides special support for female employees. Over 70 per cent of staff employed by this long-standing customer of DEG are women. The bank is one of the few businesses in the country to pay employees their full salary for six months during maternity and parental leave. Female employees with a child under one year of age can also reduce their daily working hours to seven with no change in pay. In addition, women workers with large families are entitled to an extra two days off per quarter.
The 2X Challenge also aims to provide targeted support for women-owned enterprises. One of these is DEG’s customer Karton Tecnico del Paraguay (KAROTEC). This sister company of the German cardboard manufacturer WEIG produces special paper used in plasterboard for the South American market, among other applications. Almost 60 per cent of shares in the company are owned by women.
12 development finance institutions – one goal
The 2X Challenge was founded by development finance institutions of the G7 countries: CDC (United Kingdom), CDP (Italy), DEG, FinDev Canada, JBIC and JICA (Japan), OPIC (United States) and Proparco (France). FMO (Netherlands), Swedfund, Finnfund and IFU (Denmark) have also been involved since spring 2019. It’s already becoming apparent that the ambitious target of USD 3 billion that was set for the end of 2020 is likely to be far exceeded.