AIIB Financing Women’s Economic Empowerment Across Southeast Asia

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has partnered with the Southeast Asia Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund (SWEEF) to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia.

SWEEF is a closed-end private equity fund specialized in financing women’s economic empowerment by investing equity and quasi-equity capital into growth-stage businesses.

Agreements were signed last week with AIIB committing up to US$10 million to the fund.

AIIB’s contribution to the fund is also expected to mobilize more private capital from future potential investors who seek to support gender-focused investments in emerging Asia.

To strengthen the investment’s contribution to gender equality, diversity and climate finance, AIIB has designed a sustainability-linked performance scheme where the fund manager’s compensation is linked to three sustainability performance targets, namely (1) women-owned/led businesses, (2) demonstrated gender improvements over time and (3) climate disclosure.

“This project marks AIIB’s first impact investment in a gender-focused private equity fund and further contributes to building AIIB’s knowledge and capacity in gender-focused investments,” said AIIB Senior Investment Officer Thomas Walenta.

“With the main end-beneficiaries including SMEs from the healthcare and education sectors, the project increases the Bank’s exposure to social infrastructure, especially from the perspective of gender lens investing.”

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