New Faces New Voices (NFNV)

Aug 29, 2013
1. Could you briefly introduce NFNV? New Faces New Voices was launched in May 2009 as the business and finance pillar of "Multiplying Faces, Amplifying Voices" which was founded by Mrs. Graҫa Machel. NFNV is a Pan-African network of women in the financial and business sectors. We recognise that women have the potential to deliver a significant contribution to economic growth in Africa. Our role is to advocate for investment so that this potential can be realised. We believe that harnessing the economic potential of women can collectively contribute to a large-scale and fundamental shift in the business and financial landscape across Africa. We do this in order to reduce inequalities, improve the economic well-being of women and their families, and strengthen African economies and societies at large. 2. What are your main activities? We focus on increasing women's access to finance and financial services, improving women's skills as entrepreneurs and business leaders, and growing the number and visibility of African women in leadership and decision-making positions in the financial sector. To this end, we:
  • Engage with a broad range of financial stakeholders from regulators, development finance institutions, commercial banks, private equity firms, and government officials to advocate for the empowerment women given their positive socio- economic role in meeting the development challenges of Africa.
  • We also promote the growth of women-owned businesses at all income levels, but especially in the SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) arena and we conduct research on how to strengthen the role of women as economic agents, through business and finance.
  • Our key activity is the biannual African Women's Economic Summit, which we host together with our strategic partner the African Development Bank. The Summit brings together key stakeholders in the financial sector that can influence and effect change within their respective institutions to better harness the economic potential of women.
3. What are NFNV recent achievements?
  • Hosting our second successful Summit in Lagos, Nigeria. The Summit had strong representation from Nigerian government officials including the Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
  • Expanding the organization at a Pan-African level through the establishment of 15 chapters in different countries to carry out our mission and goals and serve as the implementing agents on the ground.
  • Enlisting the support of more institutions to become "Drivers of Change" such the Bank of Industry in Nigeria and the Bank of Zambia.
4. Could you describe some key challenges that NFNV is facing? As a young organization, one of our biggest challenges is finding institutional support that would help us to put the organization on a more solid footing. We are also faced with the challenge of how to manage our growth as more and more countries want to establish chapters. A final challenge is having sufficient data to make a strong business case for the positive role that women are already playing in the economies of African countries. The lack of gender-disaggregated in many African countries is a big hindrance in developing an evidence-based case for why it's important to invest in women. 5. In which way can the Partnership for Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) support the NFNV's work? By giving us exposure through your website which will assist our advocacy efforts; by partnering with us on research in the area of gender finance and financial inclusion to better inform policymakers and regulators about the needs of women; and by helping to strengthen African financial systems that will, in turn, accelerate the growth of women entrepreneurs and enable women to become key decision-makers in the financial sector.