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Livelihood bond to help women

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Women’s Livelihood Bond will be made available to a group of microfinance institutions. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodian women are among over half a million Southeast Asian women who will be able to access credit from the $8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond, guaranteed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to improve their livelihoods.

According to a USAID press release yesterday, funds from the Women’s Livelihood Bond would be made available to a group of microfinance institutions and social enterprises in Cambodia to help low-income women transition from subsistence livelihoods and “build their resilience to socio-economic stress”.

“USAID is pleased to be backing the Women’s Livelihood Bond with this loan guarantee,” said Todd Sorenson, deputy mission director at USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok.

“The bond benefits women living in Asean countries and was put together by an Asean-based company.”

The four-year, 5.65 percent coupon, structured by Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), is expected to be listed on the Singapore Exchange this month, the statement read. It will be the first social sustainability bond with a focus on social and financial returns to be listed on a major stock exchange.

According to IIX, sixty percent of the capital for this bond was provided by Asian investors, mostly private banking clients.

The private capital raised from the bond will provide loans for these institutions and enterprises to support women’s livelihood development through access to credit, income-generating assets and vocational training.

With funding from USAID and DFAT, the bond is backed by a Development Credit Authority loan guarantee to mitigate risk and attract private investors to purchase the $8 million bond.

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