Women's Livelihood Bond to Launch
29 June 2016 at 9:24 am
Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) is set to launch a first-of-its-kind Women’s Livelihood Bond – a $20 million debt security designed to unlock capital to assist women in South-East Asia.
The IIX bond is part of the organisation’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) which convenes leaders to drive action through a facilitation model – helping members connect, collaborate and make effective and measurable commitments to action.
The Women’s Livelihood Bond is said to be the first among IIX’s sustainability bonds – a series of replicable financial instruments that mobilise private capital for development.
“Designed to transform the lives of over half a million women in Asia, IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond is set to raise $20 million in capital for a pool of underlying issuers, consisting of social enterprises and micro-finance institutions, that focus on empowering women,” founder of IIX and Impact Investment Shujog Limited (Shujog), Professor Durreen Shahnaz said.
“Women are critical stakeholders in equitable and sustainable development and yet, current funding channels fall tragically short of supporting women to achieve development goals in a large-scale way.
“IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond represents a bold step in changing this; it is designed to empower over half a million women and their families in the most vulnerable communities in Asia, to shift from subsistence living towards sustainable and resilient livelihoods.
“Supported by key partners that include The Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Research Institute Limited,Center for High Impact Philanthropy of the University of Pennsylvania, and Shearman and Sterling LLP, IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond is en route to becoming listed on the Impact Exchange, the world’s first Social Stock Exchange started by IIX.”
Shahnaz said it was structured to unlock capital from impact investors and the funds raised by the Women’s Livelihood Bond will enable high-impact social enterprises and micro-finance institutions to scale their operations and magnify their impact on women across Asia by providing them with increased access to skills, capital, market linkages and natural resources.
“Through IIX, a pipeline of potential borrowers with proven track record of positive impact on women’s lives, clear intention to scale, capital requirements, and viable bond-repayment avenues, are currently being lined. Thus, this bond will pool together a group of issuers and diversify the risk-return structure of the bond, in effect ensuring repayment of the bond and the social impact deliverables,” she said.
“Concurrently, IIX’s sister company Shujog, will also be applying its tailored, bottom-up approach in measuring impact to ensure that demonstrable social outcomes are achieved.
“With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, Shujog has developed a Blueprint Paper of the Women’s Livelihood Bond, which will capture the entire mechanism of the bond, from design to issuance on the Impact Exchange.”
Managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation Saadia Madsbjerg said: “We believe that IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond is a very promising innovation with the potential of unlocking large amounts of new capital for sustainable development, and The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support this work as part of its Zero Gap effort.”
Shahnaz said: “Scaling up impact is at the core of our business. By sharing the blueprint openly, we want to enable uptake and replication of the instrument, and to open the floodgates of private capital in accelerating the development agenda.”
IIX is a Singapore-based organisation with a mission to provide social enterprises (SEs) in Asia greater access to investment capital, allowing them to more rapidly expand the impact of their activities.