March 29, 2023
Produbanco's loan-recipient women operate dairy farms. The farm produces organic fertilizer from cattle manure, and aims to establish a sustainable management model in which the biogas produced in the production process is used for the farm's electricity.
On March 27, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with Banco de la Producción S.A. Produbanco (Produbanco) of the Republic of Ecuador to improve access to finance for environmentally conscious companies and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The loan agreement was signed with Produbanco in the amount of up to US$50 million. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the International Financial Corporation (IFC).
Since Ecuador's economic structure has historically dependent on the oil industry, the development of post oil industries is vital for the country. Therefore, Ecuador is developing and strengthening its agriculture and fisheries industries, which are its main non-oil export industries. However, these industries have high impact to the environment, therefore, it is critical to nurture and support a more sustainable approach for them. It is also significant challenge for Ecuador. Furthermore, the country's MSME financing gap is large compared to neighboring countries, and access to financial services is one of the factors contributing to the country's widespread poverty and low income due to the inability of MSMEs to adequately meet their financing needs.
Produbanco is a pioneer in the field of sustainability and environmentally friendly industries. It is the first bank in Ecuador to issue a sustainable bond. It provides technical assistance to clients through third party providers to help them reduce their environmental impact. In addition, with regard to financing for MSMEs, Produbanco is an important partner for the development of the MSME sector by providing tailor-made products that emphasize dialogue with clients. Through Produbanco, 50% of JICA's financing for this project will be used for loans to sustainable industrial businesses throughout Ecuador, 40% for loans to MSMEs, and 10% for loans to women owned MSMEs that meet the 2X Challenge criteria.
This project will contribute to SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Goals 8 (Decent work and economic growth), 14 (Life below water), and 15 (Life on land) by improving access to finance for sustainable industries and MSMEs, therefor contribute to development of Environmentally friendly industries in Ecuador.
(Note) The “G7 2X Challenge: Financing for Women” aims to mobilize $3 billion by 2020, by calling on DFIs in each of the G7 countries to provide their own funding and encourage private sector investment. It promotes women's economic empowerment, including the advancement of women entrepreneurs and business leaders and facilitating their entry into the labor market. The G7 2X Challenge aims to double the amount and effectiveness of investment in women.
2X Challenge criteria is set in this initiative such as “51% women ownership” and “business founded by women”.