Gender Lens Investing in the African Context

Ngoasong, Michael and Lamptey, Richmond (2021). Gender Lens Investing in the African Context. In: Sarmento, Elsa De Morais and Herman, R. Paul eds. Global Handbook of Impact Investing: Solving Global Problems Via Smarter Capital Markets Towards A More Sustainable Society. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 273–302.



African women face serious constraints in obtaining credit, cultivating business networks, when dealing with cultural norms that favor men, and with gender-neutral policies. This has led to calls for breaking stereotypes of women as survivalist entrepreneurs through Gender Lens Investing (GLI) initiatives. This chapter investigates the practice of GLI by analyzing how Fund managers draw on the gender lens narrative to break down gender stereotypes through the provision of microcredit, to develop women entrepreneurs’ agency, and attract investments. Through the analysis of the gender lens narrative of Impact Investing Funds in Africa and two in-depth case studies of microfinance organizations in Ghana and Cameroon, this chapter reveals explicit and implicit GLI strategies for investing in women-owned businesses in resource-scarce contexts and adds to the sustainable finance research by analyzing the application of GLI in Africa. The cases highlight important policy and practice implications facing gender lens investors seeking to address the persistent gender inequalities in access to entrepreneurial finance.

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