In 2020, the Standard Bank Group established a foundation in Jersey to support the African Women Impact Fund initiative (AWIF), which was launched in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The objective of the Fund is to strengthen economic empowerment and financial inclusion of women in Africa, by accelerating the growth and development of women fund managers on the continent.

Standard Bank Offshore Trust Company Jersey Limited is the Foundation’s qualified council member and administrator. The Foundation’s mandate is to support the AWIF initiative, which aims to raise up to $1 billion over 10 years (€840 million or £737 million) for women fund managers, who in turn will invest in high-impact businesses and projects across Africa.

Through the Foundation, the AWIF provides tailored support to strengthen and enhance women fund managers’ operating and investment processes. This support aims to empower women fund managers, enabling them to enhance their investment management capabilities by intentionally encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit.

“On the African continent at present, only 5% of fund managers are women. Standard Bank believes that the economic empowerment of women is essential to raising Africa’s economic output and creating sustainable jobs,” says Jonathan Sprigg, Head of International Fiduciary Services at Standard Bank. “A key goal of the AWIF Foundation and its partners is to empower women financial leaders who will drive economic growth, job creation, and create prosperity. We feel privileged to be supporting the initiative by administering the AWIF Foundation here in Jersey.”

In addition to securing donations from international donors, the foundation will provide support through structured development programmes, capital technical assistance, capacity building, and operational support to the female fund managers who are selected to be part of the AWIF initiative.

“A number of women fund managers from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa have already been selected to receive grant funding from the AWIF Foundation, and they will be utilising the grants to further their investment in women-owned entrepreneurs across a range of sectors,” Sprigg continues.

Standard Bank works in partnership with the fund’s other strategic advisors – the UN Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA), MiDA Advisors, a global transaction and financial advisory firm, and RisCura, a leading investment manager – to achieve its stated objectives.

“The AWIF initiative aligns with our Group purpose: Africa is our home, we drive her growth,” says Charles Molteno, Chief Executive and Jersey Head, Standard Bank Offshore. “Through the AWIF Foundation, we can continue to support growth on the continent by championing diversity and inclusion in the asset management space. Jersey is a great enabler for impact initiatives such as this one, and we are delighted to support and facilitate the UNECA’s sustainable development goals in Africa.”

In reaction to the AWIF Foundation and highlighting the popularity of the Jersey Foundation structure, Global Head of Business Development at Jersey Finance, Allan Wood, commented also.

“This is an innovative initiative that Standard Bank is supporting, highlighting the continued appeal of Jersey Foundations being used as a robust structure for facilitating purpose-driven, philanthropic and impact endeavours. Building on our appointment of Dr Rufaro Nyakatawa in 2021, this move aligned perfectly with our strategy to deepen our relationship with Africa, help support growth in the continent and champion diversity and inclusion in the asset management space.”

Find more information on the Standard Bank website.