New initiative to increase women representation in African boardrooms

cdc womenIn a partnership to bring increased diversity to companies and organisations across Africa, CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, has announced to support TheBoardroom Africa (TBR Africa) with funding of US$2.07mn

CDC’s funding will boost TBR Africa’s aim to double female representation in Africa’s boardrooms by 2028.

About 14 per cent of board members in Africa is women despite recent research highlighting how women positively impact business outcomes. A Credit Suisse report found that companies, where women make up at least 15 per cent of senior managers, have more than 50 per cent higher profitability than those with under 10 per cent female representation. McKinsey also reported that margins were higher for those companies where at least a quarter of their board members are women.

Founded in 2016, TBR Africa aims to improve women’s representation in African boardrooms through its unique pool of peer-endorsed female leaders from over 45 countries across the region. The company connects these female leaders with CEOs and board directors in search of diverse talent, and its work is enabled by partnerships with development finance institutions, private equity, venture capital funds among other institutions and corporations.

CDC launched its new Gender Strategy which is designed to improve women’s economic empowerment throughout its investment cycle. One of the key priorities of CDC’s strategy is supporting women’s leadership. CDC has committed to support the involvement of women in senior management among its portfolio companies, encourage board and investment committee diversity, and promote the visibility and voice of female business leaders in Africa and South Asia.

In 2018, TBR Africa has successfully supported several board and investment committee placements for CDC investments including a major multinational bank as well MedAccess and the Africa Food Security Fund.

Marcia Ashong, founder and executive director of TheBoardroom Africa, commented, “TheBoardroom Africa’s pipeline of talent is driving a fundamental shift in the gender balance among leadership teams in businesses across Africa and beyond. We are proud to partner with CDC Group, one of the leading investors in Africa, as we work to expand our network and help more companies recognise that gender diversity has a real social and economic benefit to both business and society.”

Jen Braswell, director for value creation strategies at CDC Group, noted, “As CDC encourages the world’s investors to focus on Africa, we need excellent men and women to serve on the boards of local and international firms across the continent. Our partnership with TBR Africa has already begun helping us reach our commitment to promoting gender equality in corporate leadership. The funding we’re announcing today will help TBR Africa continue to provide us with outstanding candidates for our portfolio that we would not have otherwise found. We are very pleased with the placements that TBR Africa has helped us make so far – and we’re looking forward to more.”

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