Pioneering Change: A Gender Bond Toolkit for inclusive investment


In the wake of multifaceted crises, the world faces unprecedented challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The gap in financing for developing countries has expanded notably by 56 %, with a projected deficit of almost $4 trillion, emphasizing the need to seek out inventive and lasting financing methods. While it is estimated that an additional $360 billion per year is needed to achieve gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment in developing countries, funding has fallen short of these needs. However, gender bonds present a hopeful solution for directly funding initiatives aimed at fostering women's economic empowerment.

In concerted efforts to address the pervasive economic and social disparities, in 2020, UN Women and  Financial Sector Deeping Africa (FSD Africa) developed a study on Viability of Gender Bonds in Sub-Saharan Africa. Following this pivotal moment, gender bonds are beginning to emerge in different parts of the region, signaling a significant shift in sustainable finance.

In a landmark effort to address gender gaps and drive sustainable development across the African continent, together with partners, UN Women has unveiled a groundbreaking Gender Bond Toolkit tailored for Africa. This innovative initiative represents a significant step forward in leveraging the power of finance to advance gender equality and women's empowerment in the continent. The toolkit aims to highlight the ongoing challenge of achieving gender equality, noting that if the current trends continue, over 340 million women and girls (8% of the global female population) will still live in extreme poverty by 2030. This collaborative endeavor represents a step toward leveraging the power of finance to drive meaningful change and advance gender equality on a global scale.

What this toolkit means for Africa

The unveiling of this Gender Bond Toolkit signals a new era of innovative finance. This groundbreaking initiative promises to unlock capital for gender-focused projects while fostering greater gender equality across the African continent. The toolkit emphasizes the importance of local ownership and participation in the design and implementation of gender-focused projects. By fostering partnerships between investors, issuers, and local stakeholders, the toolkit seeks to ensure that investments align with the SDG 5 agenda on gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

By harnessing the power of finance to address economic challenges that women face, the toolkit embodies a collective commitment to building an inclusive world for women and girls in the finance ecosystem.

What gender bonds mean for Africa?

Gender bonds hold great promise for Africa in advancing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. They have the potential to drive positive social change and create lasting impact for women and girls across Africa.

By promoting investment in gender equality initiatives, this gender bond toolkit contributes to creating long-term sustainable change in Africa by addressing the root causes of gender disparities and empowering women’s economic empowerment.

This toolkit serves as a valuable tool for advancing gender equality and women's empowerment on the continent by mobilizing resources, promoting investment in gender-responsive projects, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders to achieve sustainable development goals.

By issuing gender bonds, African countries and organizations can unlock new sources of funding for social impact projects focused on gender equality. Gender bonds offer a strategic avenue for African countries to contribute to achieving SDG 5 and other related goals, thereby advancing sustainable development and poverty reduction on the continent.

Learn more about gender bonds here.