The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a syndicated loan of US$50 million to ACLEDA Bank Plc. to boost lending to small and medium enterprises, of which at least half will support women-owned enterprises, said an IFC's press release AKP received this evening.
With this funding, it added, ACLEDA Bank Plc. aims to increase its outstanding portfolio of loans to women-owned enterprises to more than US$1.5 billion by 2019.
"Women-owned businesses are an important part of the economy, but their access to financing is still limited," said Dr. In Channy, President and Group Managing Director of ACLEDA Bank Plc. "This long-term funding will help ACLEDA Bank Plc. strengthen its existing SME business, reaching many more women-owned SMEs to help them grow and expand in the next four years."
The loan is part of the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, a new global facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for women entrepreneurs. The WEOF was launched by IFC's Banking on Women program and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women in 2014. The facility aims to help close the credit gap for women-owned enterprises around the world.
"More than two-thirds of nearly 10,000 formal women-owned SMEs in Cambodia face difficulties in obtaining loans from financial institutions, leaving a financing gap of about US$172 million per year," said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC's Country Manager for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. "We share with ACLEDA Bank Plc. a common objective of providing the resources women need to grow their business, empowering them to reach their potential, and contribute further to Cambodia's economy. Expanding lending to women-owned SMEs will help ACLEDA Bank Plc. establish itself as the gender finance leader in the Mekong region."
The US$50 million financing package consists of US$30 million from IFC on its own account and US$20 million from the French banking group, BRED Banque Populaire, the joint mandated co-arranger.
"Access to capital is a major obstacle to growth for women entrepreneurs," said Noa Meyer, Managing Director and Global Head of 10,000 Women. "Research by Goldman Sachs shows that closing this gap could increase per capita income by around 12 percent by 2030. This new partnership will place more capital in the hands of women entrepreneurs in Cambodia, who will drive future economic growth and job creation."
According to the press release, ACLEDA Bank Plc. has been a longstanding IFC client since IFC made an equity investment in the bank in 2000. The partnership has enabled ACLEDA Bank Plc. to reach more than 2.5 million of the poorest people in Cambodia and support micro and small businesses throughout the Mekong region.
IFC's Banking on Women program is playing a catalytic role in helping financial institutions meet the needs of women entrepreneurs in a sustainable and profitable way. Since its launch in 2010, the program has made 33 investments globally totaling almost US$1 billion.