Women’s Livelihood Bond Series wins growth initiative in Asia

 

Alliance magazine

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The Women’s Livelihood Bond Series, an initiative of Impact Investment Exchange, has won the opportunity to scale an innovative finance solution for gender-equal COVID-resilience and green growth across Asia through P4G, or Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2020.

P4G is a collaborative partnership among 12 partner countries: Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, and Vietnam, and is funded by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands.

The WLB Series was selected for its innovative approach to unlocking private capital for sustainable development at the intersection of women’s empowerment, climate action, and COVID-resilience; for creating a benchmark of excellence for blended financial instruments that balance risk-return-impact; and for mobilising a range of ecosystem partners from across sectors for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through the P4G partnership, Impact Investment Exchange’s WLB Series will mobilise millions of dollars of private capital to empower millions of underserved women to drive COVID-19 responsive, resilient, and resistant growth in the Global South, a key goal that initiatives P4G strives to support.

‘We’re looking for innovative and inclusive, scalable business models that drive impact in the decade of action and delivery. The Women’s Livelihood Bond partnership is completely with us in this pursuit – their work gets at the heart of empowering women, half of the global population and thus key, underrepresented agents for change, to sustainably transform economies and communities for the better,’ said Ian de Cruz, P4G Global Director.

Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) CEO and Founder Durreen Shahnaz expressed her appreciation for the honour, saying: ‘The partnership is a wonderful way for IIX to showcase the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series as an innovative financial solution – a solution that proves how empowering women and building climate resilience simultaneously paves the way forward to achieve the SDGs and long-term COVID-resilience,’ said IIX CEO and Founder Durreen Shahnaz.

‘Together with P4G and our larger network of partners, we’re changing the narrative about underserved communities, and especially underserved women – by positioning them as solution-builders rather than victims. We’re now taking that model and showing investors how a COVID-resilient future can be built with women and the environment front and centre, while also generating financial returns during the toughest of times.’

In 2020, IIX successfully closed the US$12 million Women’s Livelihood BondTM 2 (WLB2), the Asia-Pacific’s second multi-country gender bond to be listed on a stock exchange (the Singapore Exchange), creating sustainable livelihoods for more than a quarter million underserved women in the region. The WLB2 is the second bond in the award-winning WLB Series. Demonstrating its scalability and replicability, IIX will continue to expand the WLB Series across new geographies and sectors, including in Indonesia.

‘The time is ripe for innovative partnerships to drive sustainable development in Indonesia. IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond is a prime example of public-private partnerships at its best, especially one that brings women into the heart of climate action and strengthens their resilience to cope with this COVID-19 pandemic,’ said Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Co-Chair of P4G’s Indonesia National Platform.

Women in particular are playing an outsize role in rebuilding COVID-resilient communities, even as gender inequalities worsen in emerging economies. They are at the forefront of the pandemic, making up 70 per cent of frontline workers and 66 per cent of the agricultural supply chains in emerging markets. Yet, money – or rather, the lack thereof, continues to halt women’s full participation across critical sectors, and thus hinders sustainable, green growth during the pandemic and its economic aftermath. So support for the WLB Series is especially timely right now.

Leveraging its expertise in innovative finance, IIX will expand the WLB Series to mobilize millions of investment capital to empower millions of women in Asia. The WLB is an innovative debt security that pools together high-impact enterprises to create a multi-country, multi-sector portfolio that is sold to private sector investors and listed on a stock exchange. In a post-coronavirus economy, the WLB Series is COVID-19 responsive, resilient, and resistant and will empower women to act as solutions in critical sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, clean energy, inclusive technology, among others. The WLB Series will work to advance 12 of the United Nation’s 17 SDGs.

The WLB Series has gained support from a range of partners, including: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australian DFAT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), The Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Standard Chartered Bank, DBS Bank, ANZ, Latham & Watkins, Shearman & Sterling, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Hogan Lovells, and more.


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