For the 5th time, Singaporean initiated women award winning investment bond, closed recently without Ugandan women benefiting.!
The bond whose overriding goal is to create a positive impact for women entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa, has benefited women in Kenya Uganda’s neighbour.
The US$50 million IIX Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 5, is the first sustainable debt security in the market issued in compliance with the Orange Bond Principles and is expected to empower ~300,000 women and girls across Asia and Africa.
Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) has successfully closed the Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 5 (WLB5), the fifth issuance in the award-winning Women’s Livelihood Bond™ Series (WLB™ Series), raising US$50 million. The WLB5 will create livelihood and empower ~300,000 women and girls in emerging markets across Asia and Africa, making it the first multi-continent bond in the Series.
IIX’s WLB™ Series are listed innovative financial instruments that use a blended capital structure to pool together a multi-country, multi-sector portfolio of high-impact enterprises focused on advancing gender equality. To date, the Series has mobilized US$128 million, empowering over 1 million women across Asia and Africa to transition to more sustainable, climate-resilient livelihoods, advancing 12 of the 17 United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and accelerating socio-economic recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continuing on the success of previous issuances, the WLB5 makes history as the first sustainable debt issuance to align with the Orange Bond Principles™. Orange Bonds – drawing their name from the orange hue of SDG5: Gender Equality – is the world’s first asset class built by both the Global South and Global North with a mission to build a gender-empowered financial system, particularly for the 99%.
The WLB5 brings in both “orange” and “green” with a portion of the proceeds allocated to empower women to advance climate action. IIX recognizes that the transition to a net-zero future and improved adaptive capacity of emerging markets cannot be achieved with half of humanity – women and girls – left out of the solution. IIX is one of the only women-led Sustainability Bond issuers based in the Global South, with women and people of color comprising the majority of the staff working on the WLB5 issuance to ensure high gender-lens capacity and commitment to inclusion and diversity.
IIX’s CEO and Founder Professor Durreen Shahnaz stated, “As the fifth bond of the WLB™ Series, the WLB5 continues IIX’s mission of transforming the financial system by empowering women throughout communities in emerging markets. The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have aggravated gender disparity, and women in the Global South are left to bear the brunt of it. The WLB™ Series was created to eliminate these inequalities, and the WLB5 continues this mission while embracing shades of both orange and green.”
The proceeds of the WLB5 will be used to make loans to high-impact enterprises in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and the Philippines that operate across six sectors: microfinance, SME lending, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, and affordable housing. The WLB5 also complies with the ICMA Sustainability Bond Guidelines, the ASEAN Social Bond Standards, and the UN SDG Impact Standards. The WLB™ Series measures and verifies impact both pre and post-investment using IIX Values™, a digital tool that collects impact data from women at the last mile to ensure they have a value and a voice in the investment and reporting process.
This strong commitment to transparency helps IIX to magnify impact, stabilize returns, and mitigate risks. Previous issuances in the WLB™ Series have had no defaults or delays to coupon payments, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. WLB5 has successfully mobilized capital from a range of institutional and impact-focused investors from across the world including anchor investor, Nuveen (a TIAA-CREF company), Laerdal Finans, Pathfinder New Zealand, and Ceniarth, among others.