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Women in African Investments: How a network of women is changing the way we invest in Africa

As we celebrate International Women’s Day across the world, it seems timely to draw attention to the growing impact of Women in African Investments (WAI), a dynamic impact network partner of Small Foundation.

WAI is an active network of over 160 women investment professionals who work towards a more equitable distribution of investment capital on the continent.

This week, WAI publishes their Annual Impact Report which shows the power of intentionally growing connections for increased coordination and collaboration across the African investment ecosystem.

Speaking about the impact of WAI’s work, WAI’s founder Elizabeth Howard said:

“We believe that a more diverse set of capital allocators will translate into a broader range of funding options for entrepreneurs – particularly women. That is a brighter future that we are committed to realising together.”

WAI supports members through providing a space for networking, knowledge-sharing and awareness-raising, building the foundations for relationships of trust which increase the chances of meaningful and effective collaboration in the longer term.

The report shows that members experience benefits to their professional effectiveness and development. These include growing their professional network, gaining deeper industry knowledge, building relationships outside of fundraising conversations, and reducing feelings of isolation / boosting morale.

Many WAI members are working on system change initiatives to allocate capital more equitably and responsibly; these initiatives have been bolstered through the support of the WAI network. Examples detailed in the report include the new Emerging Capital Allocations Programme taken forward by the Collaborative for Frontier Finance, the publication of the book Adventure Finance by Aunnie Patton Power in 2021, and the Harmonisation of Crowdfunding Regulations in East Africa taken forward by the African Crowdfunding Association.

This partnership between WAI and Small Foundation is part of Small Foundation’s overall portfolio of work supporting impact networks. Inspired by the work of Converge, also detailed in David Ehrlichman’s book and documentary entitled ‘Impact Networks’, Small Foundation supports mission-aligned impact networks seeking to increase the effectiveness of rural-impacting small business ecosystems across the African continent.

You can access the report here to learn more about the network and its members.




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