Online training on “How to develop a gender approach for development finance institutions”

The ICR Facility has developed a course targeted primarily to representatives from development finance institutions (DFIs) as well as public authorities and private sector stakeholders in African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries. In this online and self-paced training participants will learn how to develop a gender finance approach in DFIs. It is an interactive way to learn more about institutional gender mainstreaming, actions and measures to be taken in the organization to ensure gender inclusion. 

For more info and for registration, click HERE

Training on Gender-Sensitive Business Environment Reforms

The ICR Facility has developed an online, free and self-paced MOOC course to develop awareness and provide tools to advance Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) through Business Environment Reform (BER) in African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Participants will learn to apply a gender-sensitive and gender-transformative lens when they work on their own reforms, taking into account gender differenc­es and promoting reforms that tackle barriers women face in the business environment. 

For more info and for registration, click HERE

Read the ICR Facility Annual Report 2023

In this report, you will learn about how the ICR Facility has been supporting Business Environment Reforms in ACP countries, strengthening national and sub-regional development finance institutions, and compiling lessons learned and good practices.

Results include:
– 22 business reform initiatives have been initiated and/or implemented
– 15 public-private dialogue processes have been strengthened as a result of our interventions
– 6 DFIs improved their performance in at least one pre-defined area
– 3 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were launched, with 1 being focused on Business Environment Reforms for WEE.

Supporting women in horticulture cooperatives in Senegal

Women contribute to 80% of the agriculture production work­force in Senegal. Yet, they still face many more challenges compared to men, including low access to credit, access to land, financial literacy, and market access difficulties. UNACOIS Jappo requested support from the ICR Facility in assessing the business environment for women in the agri­cultural sectors in Senegal.

The post-implementation review showed that the inter­vention allowed local institutions to better understand the constrains of women in the value chain as well as better target the solutions to be proposed and implemented to foster their activities. For example, the intervention con­tributed to enhance credit access for women by engaging a local bank which now has better targeted financial products to offer to women in the value chain and has expanded the credit envelop for women in the sector by more than 20%.

Learn more about this intervention here.

Read the blogpost here.

Watch the video here.

Tackling Gender Equality issues at the workplace in Malawi

In 2014, Malawi passed the Gender Equality Act to ensure that women and men have equal rights under the law, and everyone is treated with dignity. However, cases of sexual harassment and discrimination in workplaces are still being reported: one woman in five reported to have experienced some form of sexual violence. Some Malawian companies are facing legal challenges in court on the grounds of gen­der discrimination.

The technical assistance included extensive research into gender-based inequality, harassment, and abuse in the workplace. The findings and results were validated and disseminated to public and private stakeholders to target the necessary reforms. ECAM representatives and part­ners were also trained to assist employers come up with appropriate policies and practices that promote equal par­ticipation in the labour market.

Learn more about this intervention here.

Read the blogpost here

ICR Toolbox Training

The ICR Facility has developed a self-paced training on “Business Environment Reform Tools”, where representatives from public and private stakeholders in African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries will learn how to use practical and straight-forward tools to improve the business environment in ACP.

Participants who have successfully completed this course will have a deeper understanding of what the ICR Facility’s toolbox is about and offers, will have assessed the appropriateness of selected tools in the context of the own actual or envisaged Business Environment Reform (BER) process, and will know how to integrate the application of selected tools in the actual or envisaged Business Environment Reform cycle.

The training is divided in 4 modules:

  • Business Environment Reform and the ICR Toolbox
  • Advocacy Capacity Building
  • Gender Diagnostic Checklist
  • Green Integration Checklist

The training will take approximately four (4) hours (1 hour per module) to complete and participant will receive a participation certificate once they successfully pass the training.

Register for the training here.

ICREPORT: Business Environment Reforms for Youth Entrepreneurship in the ACP Region

Young entrepreneurs often encounter challenges in their business ecosystems, such as limited access to finance, inadequate skills and experience, and insufficient institutional support. However, these challenges are not isolated and are often intertwined with broader issues in the business environment, creating obstacles to doing business. This report aims to showcase opportunities for promoting youth entrepreneurship in countries in ACP regions by implementing strategic business environment reforms (BER). It delves into the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs in the current ACP contexts and suggests ways for policymakers to improve the conditions for starting and running businesses.
Download the report here.

Youth entrepreneurship in ACP countries: policy environment, trends and barriers

Many countries in the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) region have made supporting young entrepreneurs a top priority for economic development and youth employment. Despite this, young entrepreneurs face challenging business conditions and complicated policy and regulatory contexts in launching and running their businesses.

The ICR Facility recently held a webinar aimed at providing an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to explore ways to create a more favourable business environment in support of young entrepreneurs. Attendees could discover key findings from the ICR Facility’s latest report and hear from expert speakers sharing best practice and experiences from across the region. Additionally, attendees were able to participate in breakout groups with key experts and practitioners, offering a chance to engage with peers and understand steps actors in ACP countries can take to support reforms that will have a positive impact on young entrepreneurs.

Read the ICReport on youth entrepreneurship here:

Uganda: protecting property rights of women in cohabiting relationships

In June 2023, Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U) together with the ICR Facility held a Stakeholders’ Dialogue to protect women’s property rights in cohabiting relationships in Uganda. Legal barriers to access and control assets constitute a major challenge for women’s participation in the business sector in many ACP countries.

The Dialogue convened diverse stakeholders to highlight the realities and obstacles faced by Ugandan women living in cohabiting unions (unions that are not recognized by the law), which represent 30% of all unions in the country.

The meeting was also a crucial moment to make a case for a law reform that would better protect women’s access to and control of assets and hereby contribute to their economic empowerment. The ICR Facility has supported FIDA Uganda in developing a strategy roadmap explaining the relationship between access to the property and women’s economic agency. FIDA will use it to reinforce its call for a reform of property laws to foster women’s participation in the economy.

Click here for more info about ICR’s intervention in Uganda.

ICR supports Togo’s sesame sector

With roughly 25,000 tons produced in Togo annually, sesame provides employment opportunities for a growing number of farmers and small entrepreneurs in the country. Despite this, many farmers and entrepreneurs in the sesame sector are facing challenges that prevent them from fully benefiting from the opportunities it offers. The “Agence de Promotion des Investissements et de la Zone Franche (API-ZF) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Rural development of Togo worked with the ICR facility with the objective of implementing a cluster development approach for the sesame sector.

Find out more about this intervention

Read about the role of women for the development of the sesame value chain in Togo

Seychelles: new Industrial Policy validated

The Government of the Republic of Seychelles has concluded the design of its new Industrial Policy to align the industrial development plan with sustainable to resilient strategies directed by The Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry (MIEI).

The Industrial Policy was validated on the 27th of March 2023 in a workshop.

Click here for more info

Eswatini reviews its Industrial Policy

The government of Eswatini wants to grow and develop the country’s manufacturing sector. In order to do so, it is reviewing its industrial policy.

Against this background, the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade of Eswatini, conducted earlier this year the Second National Stakeholder Consultation Workshop, with support of the ICR Facility to ensure a broad stakeholder engagement on the issue of growth and development of the country’s manufacturing sector. During the two-day workshop, 29 institutions participated in the consultation with a total of 50 representatives (50% were women). The workshop revealed that, according to most stakeholders, the two most crucial objectives of the new Industrial Policy should be:

  • to maximize domestic benefits by strengthening national value chains and increasing domestic production capacities;
  • to enhance economic resilience by diversifying production and export markets.

At the end of April, the stakeholders will meet again to discuss the intervention areas which will be essential to achieve these industrial policy objectives in Eswatini.

For more updates, also click here and visit the Investment Climate reform facility LinkedIn page

“Read the ICR Facility Annual report 2021-2022”


Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) have a key role to play in promoting gender responsive finance and women’s economic empowerment (WEE). While the initiatives of multilateral banks are well-documented and communicated via events and publications, such as 2021’s “Public Development Banks Driving Gender Equality: an Overview of Practices and Measurement Frameworks” by UNWOMEN and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), visibility of the efforts of national and sub-regional DFIs on this topic is low. Gender finance is not commonly highlighted on their websites or in annual reports, and their efforts to promote gender finance are rarely covered in research articles or other publications. As a result, national DFIs experience successes and challenges in their efforts to promote gender equality without the benefit of broader recognition and the chance to inspire their peers to action, or supportive networks that can help identify solutions to difficulties faced. The purpose of this study is to identify those DFIs in the member countries of the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) with active gender finance or WEE initiatives. Among them, the study aims to showcase good practices and highlight challenges to spark dialogue within and across the ACP region about approaches to gender finance and WEE. This includes activities relating to the DFIs’ internal policies and processes, such as those related to gender policy and human resources management, and client-oriented activities, such as financial products or technical assistance.

Learn more about the Investment Climate Reform Facility