USD 595 million to support hundreds of thousands of women who thrive with small businesses in Latin America. This is the purpose and the average disbursed amount of the institutions of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) in Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic and Panama, according to the latest data shared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and published in the report, “Development finance for gender equality and women’s empowerment: A 2021 snapshot”. This figure places the Foundation as the top foundation in the world to contribute in development assistance for gender equality, among more than 30 private organisations.
In this new report, the OECD highlights the need for “adequate and constant financing to support gender equality and women’s empowerment”. A commitment to which the private and public sector adhered through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, “to significantly increase investment to close the gender gap”. Data show that 25% of private philanthropy’s contribution is destined to this objective. This commitment, notes the OECD, is even more crucial given the COVID-19 crisis.
Currently, the BBVAMF accompanies 1.5 million women in five countries including Chile, not considered as an official recipient of development assistance and is thus not included in the OECD statistics. Women represent almost 60% of the entrepreneurs supported by the Foundation in the region, and they are a priority given their vulnerable conditions, which expose them to more obstacles when accessing basic services. “During these years, we have proven that women start businesses out of necessity and they’re not only good at managing their activities, they also invest better and spend wiser. They allot 90% of their income to health, skills building and education for their children”, guaranteed BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s CEO, Javier M. Flores.
According to him, to drive women’s empowerment, it is important “to complement all products and services with an integrated plan for skills development, which combines business management with orientation on family and community wellbeing”.
Because of this, the BBVAMF works in partnership with international organisations specialized in development like IFC, World Bank or FAO; and with those that support women like UN Women. “We are facing such a significant challenge to the point where one organisation can’t solve it alone. We have to join forces to facilitate women entrepreneurs’ access to necessary resources and skills so they could progress”, assured the Head of Women’s Empowerment in BBVAMF, Laura Fernández Lord.
Spain is also distinguished for its contribution to gender equality initiatives in developing countries
In this report, the OECD includes a list of countries that contribute most in gender equality initiatives, under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) flows, differentiated between those that consider women’s empowerment as core target and the rest. Spain leads the first category.