Cambodia: Finance for Women Easier

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Nov 2016
Cambodia , November, 16 2016 - Acleda Bank, a leading locally-owned commercial bank, has received a $30 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US government’s development finance institution, through Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women and the International Finance Corporation’s Banking on Women program for supporting women-owned small and medium-sized businesses in Cambodia.

The agreement was signed between Acleda Bank and three other institutions early this month, according to the bank. 

The loan will be used to provide women-owned start-ups with loans for working capital, expansion capital and equipment.

The project will leverage Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women and the IFC’s joint Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF) to incentivise Acleda to finance underserved women-owned enterprises.

Elizabeth L. Littlefield, the OPIC president and chief executive officer, said the number one barrier to women entrepreneurs and small businesses is a lack of access to capital.

When it comes to starting a business, keeping a business running or growing a business, women are forced to do more with less. Or they decide not to start their business at all.

“I'm proud to join Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women, IFC and Acleda Bank to provide capital, support and resources for women-owned businesses in Cambodia,” she said.

“Together, this facility will help bring women into the market and grow their ideas into businesses.”

IFC global director, Financial Institutions Group, Marcos Brujis welcomed these new commitments, which will help to close the financing gap for women in Cambodia.

“Working together in these focused partnerships, as key players in the finance industry, we can make a tremendous difference,” he said.

“Financial inclusion for women is critical to economic prosperity and the IFC's Banking on Women program is committed to achieving this in a profitable and sustainable manner.”

In Channy, the president and group managing director of Acleda, said his bank had worked with 439,544 active borrowing customers of which half were women as of September this year. 

“The best thing about women, they have been very associated with business expertise and financial management talents from households to businesses. These will help them manage their enterprises effectively and efficiently, like other entrepreneurs,” said Mr. Channy. “They have faced common barriers of limited access to finance, but culturally barriers might establish additional hindrances for women entrepreneurs than their peers of entrepreneurs. 

“OPIC, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women and IFC syndicated finance joining forces with Acleda Bank will significantly broaden financial resources and access for those keen women entrepreneurs in Cambodia,” he added. 

Neav Chanthana, the deputy governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, said in July that economic empowerment increases women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development and market information. 

She said that in Cambodia, only 61 percent of women are able to access financial services from banks and microfinance institutions.

The rate is the same percentage as in Myanmar, while in Laos it is 45 percent. The highest in the Greater Mekong Subregion was Thailand, she pointed out, with 90 percent of women being able to access services offered by financial institutions. 

“Their inclusion in the microfinance and banking sector is crucial for the country’s economy,” she said.

The Asian Development Bank said in a report that women’s businesses account for only 40 percent of total business revenue and 51 percent of total business profits.

“Women’s businesses therefore are on average smaller and less profitable than male-run businesses,” the report said.



Source : Khmer Times
 

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