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In brief: Launch of new gender bonds toolkit aimed at African capital markets

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Published: 29 February 2024

Plus, 2X Ignite opens second acceleration programme aimed at African women-led gender smart fund managers | S&P Dow Jones Indices launches biodiversity-focused benchmarks

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A new gender bonds toolkit aims to help advance gender equality and climate action in African capital markets | Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Several Africa and gender-focused development agencies and international organisations have jointly launched a gender bonds toolkit to help advance gender equality and climate action in African capital markets.

This includes FSD Africa, a specialist development agency supported by UK aid which is working to build and strengthen financial markets across sub-Saharan Africa. It also includes the FSD Network’s gender collaborative programme, which aims to incorporate gender into the operations of financial sector deepening entities in the African region. Other agencies involved include British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The toolkit, which was authored by Parallelle Finance, an investment research and consulting firm, aims to deepen the understanding of gender bonds and their potential to mobilise capital for women’s empowerment initiatives within the African capital markets context.

It is hoped that the toolkit will play a crucial role in building a pipeline of gender lens investing opportunities within African capital markets, promoting sustainable growth while providing clear guidance on how to incorporate gender metrics into businesses that address the slow progress of gender lens investing.

Commenting on the launch, Jo Fry, investment director and head of intermediated financial services at BII said: “Our goal in producing this guide is to demonstrate and create better understanding of how effective gender impact bonds can be as an investment tool to advance gender equality in Africa.”

Acceleration programme aimed at African women-led gender smart fund managers opens this week

2X Ignite, the market-building facility aimed at women-led and gender diverse fund managers with gender lens investment strategies in emerging markets, has launched its second accelerator programme for Africa this week.

Known as GP Sprint, the 6-month acceleration programme will support seven to 10 African women-led or gender diverse fund managers on their fundraising journey by offering tailored coaching, practical simulation exercises and by facilitating networking and constructive feedback opportunities with limited partners (LPs) in order to reach a first or subsequent close.

This latest programme, which will run from April to November this year, follows the first ever GP Sprint, which ran from November 2022 to May 2023 and supported six African fund managers, as well as the first Asia-Pacific GP Sprint, which is supporting nine fund managers and comes to a close in March this year.  

2X Ignite is an initiative of the membership and field-building gender finance organisation 2X Global.

Interested parties in the Africa GP Sprint are invited to join an information session. Successful general partners will be selected by a team of representatives from 2X Global, fund investors and fund investment experts based on an online application process and personal interviews. The programme has a preference for fund managers based and investing in Sub-Saharan Africa

S&P Dow Jones Indices launches biodiversity-focused benchmarks

Index provider S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) has announced the launch of two S&P biodiversity indices.

The S&P 500 Biodiversity Index and the S&P Global LargeMidCap Biodiversity Index will measure the performance of a subset of equity securities from the S&P 500 and S&P Global LargeMidCap indices.

To develop the biodiversity-focused versions of these underlying equity market benchmarks, S&P 500 and S&P Global LargeMidCap index constituents have been selected and weighted to reflect their alignment with certain environmental and biodiversity objectives.

To inform the screening and selection of constituents for the two indices, S&P DJI utilised its sustainability intelligence platform S&P Global Sustainable1’s nature and biodiversity risk dataset, which assesses nature-related impacts and dependencies across a company’s direct operations and can be applied at the asset, company and portfolio level.

Both indices integrate biodiversity, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and carbon datasets to align with the targets defined by the UN’s Biodiversity Conference (COP15). Constituents are therefore also selected and weighted to reflect a collective reduction of the ecosystem impact intensity, limit the proportion of ecosystem impact to significant land, alignment with specific UN SDGs, and a reduction in the carbon footprint relative to the constituents in the underlying parent indices.

Jas Duhra, global head of sustainability indices at S&P DJI, said: “The S&P Biodiversity Indices are designed to help offer additional insights for our clients and market participants who are seeking to measure, analyse and better understand their investments’ impact on the natural world, and support their goals to create a more resilient and ecologically conscious investment landscape.”

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