Female Future Program

January 30, 2020

We are supporting female talent in our portfolio companies in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to participate in a leadership and boardroom competence development program created by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).

Female Leadership Journey, Zambia 2018

The need

In 2015, McKinsey reported that gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue, but also a critical economic challenge. Advancing women’s equality could add USD 12 trillion to global growth. Even though positive changes were reported in 2019, women still face the obstacles in the first step up to management and progress toward gender equality in Africa has stalled since 2015.

Gender equality is therefore an important priority in both Norwegian and international development assistance, as illustrated in sustainable development goal number 5.

The project

The Female Future Program’s objective is to increase female participation in decision-making processes. It was developed by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO) in 2003 in response to the Norwegian government’s policy requiring the boards of public limited companies to have at least 40% representation of both genders. The Program was first rolled out to Uganda in 2010, then to Tanzania and Kenya. NHO trains local trainers, so over time the Program is locally owned and becomes sustainable based on the tuition fees from the participants.

As the Program is in line with SDG 5 and Norfund’s Gender Strategy to promote equal opportunities in portfolio companies, Norfund offers co-financing participation in the Female Future Program to women in leadership position in our portfolio companies.

The impact

The Female Future Program consists of 15 days of training over nine months. During this period the participants receive training on board competence, rhetoric and leadership. The central goal of the Program is to make the business environment more attractive to women, to increase the share of women in decision making processes, get business leaders to be driving force behind change and facilitate work-related and family-related responsibilities.

The Program is ranked by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as one of the world’s 10 best programmes for advancing female leadership and board participation. By the end of 2018, 58 women received training in Tanzania, 159 in Uganda, and 198 in Kenya.

Since 2016, Norfund has supported 19 women from our portfolio companies in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. In 2019, Norfund supported NHO in establishing the program in Ghana.

‘Female Future has made me a better leader as a result I have seen my team grow and add value to the business we support’ – Female Future participant