The first-ever gender bond series listed in Asia-Pacific receives new UN support

The first-ever gender bond series listed in Asia-Pacific receives new UN support

The first-ever Multi-Country Gender Binding Series (ESCAP), the Asia-Pacific Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Rockefeller Foundation, has gained new funding from Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)’s winning Women’s Livelihood BondTM Series (WLB Series).

The second multi-country gender bond, Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 (WLB 2) IIX, which was to be listed on the Singapore Exchange successfully closed off the US$ 12 million. For more than 250,000 underserved women in the country, WLB2 would create sustainable livelihoods. It is the second bond in IIX’s winning, US, Asian, African, Australian, and New Zealand-based WLB Series.

The $150 + million WLB Series is debt securities which, through creative finance, will generate sustainable livelihoods for more than 2 million women in Asia. For several countries in Asia, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia, the WLB Series is the first gender bond mentioned here. The main developments of the WLB series include: (1) a first bonded Gender Lens Instrument in the world; (2) the development of a deeply impact investment product appropriate for institutional and private banking customers.

The first loss capital provided by the Rockefeller Foundation will be offered to private investors of the WLB project, with the US International Development Agency (USAID) providing a loan portfolio guarantee of 50%. The WLB Series is being expanded with additional funding, supported by ESCAP and UNCDF with financial support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. This funding strengthens the IIX relationship with USAID that has been a major contributor to the success of the first Women’s Livelihood BondTM 1.

In 2020, the third Women’s Livelihood BondTM (WLB3) will be published and build on the momentum of the WLB2, which is growing to include more countries and industries, demonstrating scalability and replicability in the WLB series. The WLB2 is the first ICMA-certified social bond and the ASEAN Capital Markets focused on empowering women.