Date: 08/03/2018
Theme: Vie d'I&P


International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

As a pioneering actor in African SME financing and in impact investing, I&P aims to promote gender equity and woman entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa. For the first time I&P shares the key elements of its gender policy in a document entitled “Opportunities to Address the African gender gap”

  Download the document: English | French


Our context

The Sub-Saharan Africa region is one of the poorest performers in terms of gender equality. Over half of its countries show high to very high levels of discrimination across the different dimensions used to measure to measure gender gap.


Useful Resources


Social Institutions & Gender Index (SIGI), OECD Development Center

• McKinsey, “Women Matter Africa” (2016)

• African Development Bank, “African Gender Equality Index” (2015)

• UN, Sustainable Development Goals: focus on Goal 5

• UNESCO, Left Behind website



I&P’s objectives

I&P’s objective is to promote gender equality in the formal SME sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are indeed convinced that our impact funds can contribute to women empowerment by increasing female labor force participation rate in formal and productive activities and promoting women entrepreneurial initiative in high-value-added activities.


I&P aims to integrate a gender perspective into its activities, concerning all stakeholders:

ŸŸŸSME leaders: develop women leadership and access to corporate governance, to advance women’s equal participation with men as decision makers in shaping development

Employees: develop women access to decent jobs and training opportunities

Clients: meet specific women needs for basic goods and services meeting the Sustainable Development Goals

Suppliers & distributors: increase activity for local women suppliers & distributors.

Ensure parity and equal conditions for I&P’s staff and investment vehicles’ governance levels.


Where do we stand today?

I&P’s portfolio

I&P’s track record include today around 20% of women led or owned-portfolio companies and 40% of “women impact SMEs” (SMEs where women are empowered in decision-making processes or SMEs focusing on women inclusion)

I&P is committed to:

ž→ Pro-actively develop the pipeline of women-impact SMEs

→ Develop investment-readiness programs, that can particularly beneffit women-led businesses

→ Conduct an analysis of gender-related prior investment (share of women in staff, equal pay...)

→ Include gender-specific improvements in the ESG action plan (increase female employment, access to executive positions, specific trainings…)

→ highlight and promote investment projects led by women in Africa, recognizing their outsized contributions as role models in positions usually filled by men


Women-impact companies - some examples from I&P portfolio

Among I&P’s portfolio, several partner companies illustrate how a gender perspective can be developed throughout the company. Here are some examples:

NEST is a medical network based in Senegal, offering a complete monitoring of woman and young children.
• The company is managed by a woman, Khadidiatou Nakoulima; She graduated from Mines de Paris in 2009 and founded the first clinic in 2012
• NEST offers high-quality health services for women at reasonable prices
• The company has launched a specific Information and communication program for young women from professional schools.
• NEST has a large majority (80%) of women among its employees (midwifes, nurses, etc.).
Neurotech is an information and technology provider delivering solutions for Senegalese enterprises.
• In this sector, considered traditionally as a "male" sector, Neurotech promotes access women to IT jobs, with 44% of female staff
• Neurotech also promotes access to leadership positions, with 50% of women in the steering committee.
• The company reports annually to the Global Compact on its CSR performance, including gender equity as a key consideration.
Nutri’Zaza is a social business fighting against child malnutrition. The company has developed a network of baby restaurants (hotelin’jazakely) alongside with the commercial selling of “Koba Aina”, a range of enhanced baby food.
• The company is managed by a female CEO, Mieja Vola RAKOTONARIVO, an agro-food engineer who has been involved in the project since inception
• The company seeks for the largest distribution of a good quality aliment for infants, and especially among the poorest women
• Nutri’Zaza has also undertaken a campaign against malnutrition through information campaigns and a watch over the babies’ weight.



 I&P’s team and governance

Gender parity is excellent at both I&P team and executive committee levels: the share of female staff stands at 48% for I&P and 50% for leadership positions (steering committee). However, when it comes to the investment team, there is a significant gender imbalance: the investment team comprises 23% of women for IPAE 1 and 2 funds and 38% for IPDEV 2 funds. As of today, female members represent an average of 25% of I&P governance entities, and I&P is committed to increase the proportion of women in these committees.

I&P is committed to:

→ Working with recruitment firms to include at least 50% of women in the pool of candidates;

→ Ensuring that gender-diverse applicants are included in the final “short list” of candidates

→ Annual training on gender issues to raise awareness among the team

→ Facilitate a work-life balance for all and remains alert to professional trips frequency. 

→  Ensure that governance entities are gender diverse