September 6, 2019
Reference 1-1: Female entrepreneurs supported by the Fund
Started retail stores for rice, snack foods and sweets, which made her revenue stable and enabled her children to attend school.
Reference 1-2: Female entrepreneurs supported by the Fund
Bought a crossbreed cow that can produce high value-added milk. The sale of the milk improved her income, and enabled her children to attend school.
On September 3rd, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a contract to commit an additional investment in the "JAPAN ASEAN Women Empowerment Fund ("Fund”)", which is managed by BlueOrchard Finance Ltd. JICA has already invested $30 million in this Fund after concluding the commitment agreement in September 2016, and JICA will make an additional investment of up to $30 million in response to the request for capital increase of the Fund. Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will participate in this capital increase.
Many of the challenges surrounding women in developing countries are due to gender-related inequalities, such as poverty, education, marriage, childbirth, and illness, and gender disparity, thus women's empowerment are major development issues for developing countries, including one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Providing assistance in women’s empowerment is stated as a key area in the Priority Policy for Development Cooperation for ASEAN countries of the Japanese Government. JICA prioritizes and develops the promotion of women’s economic empowerment through the improvement of women’s access to funds for economic activities. Also, on the occasion of the G7 Charlevoix Summit (Canada), JICA participated in “The G7 2X Challenge: Financing for Women”, which, together with the each G7 country’s development financial institutions, aims to mobilize $ 3 billion by 2020.
The purpose of this Fund is to contribute to the empowerment of women through the improvement of financial access for low-income women in the region by expanding financing to microfinance institutions focusing on the empowerment of women in Asia, particularly in ASEAN countries. The Fund currently supports more than 200,000 micro, small and medium enterprises by through its investees, and the average female client ratio of the investees reaches 91%. Further development impact is expected through this capital increase of the Fund.
Moreover, JICA's investment in the Fund through its Private Sector Investment Finance is expected to play a catalytic role as public investment so as to reduce the risk and promote private investment in the area of promoting gender equality.
Reference 2: Scheme diagram of the Fund