May 20, 2020 – SINGAPORE – Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)’s Women’s Livelihood BondTM Series (WLB Series) has won the P4G Scale-Up Partnership to scale a first of its kind innovative finance solution for gender-equal COVID-resilience and green growth across Asia. P4G, or Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, 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 mobilizing a range of ecosystem partners from across sectors for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through the P4G partnership, IIX’s WLB Series will mobilize 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.
Durreen Shahnaz, IIX CEO and Founder, said: “We are so honored to be recognized by P4G, representing 12 countries around the world from Denmark and the Netherlands to South Korea and Indonesia. 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. 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 center, while also generating financial returns during the toughest of times.”
Ian de Cruz, P4G Global Director, said: “At the heart of P4G, 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. As the 2019 P4G State-of-the-Art Partnership of the Year, the Women’s Livelihood Bond partnership recognized the value of being part of the P4G Family and doubled down to become a 2020 Scale-Up funding recipient. We welcome them to the P4G Scale-Up Family and look forward to accelerating their work, so that together, we can achieve even broader green growth success.”
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 250,000+ 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.
“We congratulate IIX on winning the P4G Scale-Up Partnership that brings together public-private sector engagements to advance development, drive economic growth, and achieve enduring results. IIX and its highly successful work on the WLB Series is an important component of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s mission to empower under-served women micro-entrepreneurs in the greater Indo-Pacific with sustainable livelihoods and increased incomes.” said Ryan Washburn, Mission Director, USAID/Indonesia.
Simon Cooper, CEO, Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered, said: “I’m delighted that IIX has been recognized in this way. Our partnership with IIX through the Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 has helped over 250,000 underprivileged, rural, financially and or socially excluded women in Asia – bringing them clean water, off-grid electricity, low cost education and affordable healthcare. Initiatives such as gender bonds are essential if we want to make a difference in our communities, provide capital where it matters the most and help invest with purpose.”
Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Co-Chair of P4G’s Indonesia National Platform, said: “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. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women, especially in financial access, where women are already 11% less likely to have access compared to men. Thus, with the Bond already making significant impact in the Indonesia economy, we are thrilled to help scale the WLB Series and increase South-South learning, so that more underserved women across the country are empowered with a better future.
The WLB Series will be a timely intervention in the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, where women are playing an outsized role in rebuilding COVID-resilient communities, even as gender inequalities worsen in emerging economies. Women are at the forefront of the pandemic, making up 70% of frontline workers and 66% 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.
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 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.