On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of the Women’s Investment Club Senegal over the past year, and look forward to expanding the initiative across Francophone West Africa.
Who would have thought that a simple lunch meeting between businesswomen would lead to the launch of the Women’s Investment Club and boost the francophone West African financial sector?
When they met in March 2015, the founding members of Senegal’s Women’s Investment Club did not anticipate the impact this pioneering initiative for women would later have.
Initial discussions revolved around a crucial question: “What have we being doing to support women entrepreneurs in Africa?” For a long time, the same response prevailed, “We help people who call on us individually, whether it’s for funds, advice, expertise…”
In time, though, these leading businesswomen wanted to do more: “So how can we ensure that we combine our efforts to create more meaningful impact?”
To answer this question, these women met time and time again, relentless in their pursuit for a sustainable solution. They wanted these discussions to lead to something tangible. They did not want hundreds of projects on paper that would be found at the bottom of desk drawers, office archives or used to wrap tuna sandwiches at local street corner shops. Less theory, more action!
After a thousand and one meetings, these women turned their vision into a reality. A beautiful evening of March 8, 2016, saw the birth of the first investment club by and for women in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WEAMU) region. The Women’s Investment Club Senegal was born with the aim of improving women’s access to modern financial instruments to support inclusive development for all.
To date, 53 women have joined WIC Senegal, with a strong willingness to contribute to inclusive economic growth, and above all, to women’s empowerment. Harnessing initial member contributions, WIC can leverage significant investments for women by women.
This community of women has made its voice heard and has touched the hearts of African women of all ages and backgrounds who have not hesitated to respond to the continent’s call.
Women’s Investment Clubs in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Guinea are currently being created, bringing together many more women who are aware of the importance of unity and their strength as a group.
Thus reads the first chapter of a movement with the ambition to create an investment fund for women entrepreneurs in Africa and to strengthen sub-regional integration by developing investment clubs across Francophone West Africa.