The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in partnership with Goldman Sachs has launched a programme aimed at improving access to letters of credit (L/Cs) and other trade finance instruments for women.

The Banking on Women Global Trade Finance Programme (BOW-GTFP) initiative is what the IFC says is a first-of-its-kind initiative to empower banks to increase trade finance to women-owned businesses.

The initiative specifically focuses on women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) in emerging markets.

How it works

The initiative works by incentivising IFC's current network of 285 GTFP participating banks in 85 countries, as well as new banks entering the GTFP to increase trade finance to women importers and exporters.

Trade finance instruments that are guaranteed and supported through the GTFP include L/Cs, trade-related promissory notes, bills of exchange, guarantees and performance bonds.

Data gathering

BOW-GTFP also provides tools and incentives for GTFP participating banks to track business with WSMEs.

This aims to generate data and research that will help governments, financial institutions and others to improve the business environment for trade and increase financial solutions for women.

Goldman Sachs partnership

This innovation is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF), a partnership launched in 2014 by Goldman Sachs and IFC.

WEOF is dedicated to expanding access to capital for 100,000 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.