ADB Supports Philippine Women Entrepreneurs With First US$90 Million Gender Bond

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has supported the Philippines’ first gender bond issued by a nonprofit and nonstock microfinance nongovernmental organisation, under the International Capital Market Association’s Social Bond Principles and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Capital Markets Forum’s Social Bond Standards.

ASA Philippines Foundation, Inc. (ASA Phils.) raised Php5 billion (US$90 million) from a 5-year gender note issuance on 5 July. The notes were sold to primary institutional lenders under Securities Regulation Code Rule 10.1.4.

This landmark issue, the country’s first-ever gender note, will be used to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as help the Philippine government in its goal of financial inclusion for the underserved and indigent sector.

“The amount raised under this issue will be used to boost lending to women entrepreneurs for their microenterprises and the improvement of their quality of life,” said ASA Phils. President and Chief Executive Officer Kamrul Tarafder.

ADB provided technical assistance to support bond framework development and capacity building through the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI).

ABMI is an initiative of the governments of ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Japan, and the Republic of Korea to develop local currency bond markets. This technical assistance program is financially supported by the PRC Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund.

“This transaction demonstrates ADB’s commitment to fostering the growth of a sustainable bond market while promoting inclusive social development in the Philippines,” said ADB Economic Research and Development Impact Department Advisor Satoru Yamadera. “This is a great example of how a microfinance company can promote gender equality and show its commitment to social sustainability.”