Finland-backed fund invests in Myanmar microfinance sector

Finfund, which invests in responsible and profitable businesses in developing countries, has injected US$5.5 million in Early Dawn Microfinance Co., Ltd, the third largest microfinance company in Myanmar in terms of client outreach. The financing will support Early Dawn’s expansion in Myanmar’s underserved townships and peri-urban areas. Finnfund gets its funding from the State of Finland and the private capital markets, as well as retained earnings from its investments. All profits get recycled into new projects that drive sustainable development.

The state-owned fund makes 20-30 new investments worth €200 million- €250 million each year. At the end of 2019, Finnfund’s portfolio comprised 183 projects in 52 countries worth €957 million. This is its third investment in the microfinance sector in Myanmar, where almost 70 percent of the population lacks access to formal financial services. Early Dawn provides group loans to low-income women, and more recently expanded to extend individual loans to small businesses.

During the investment process, they have been impressed by Early Dawn’s commitment to responsible and sustainable conduct of business. Under instructions from the government, the lender has also rescheduled repayments and restructured loans to help borrowers survive the pandemic. Finnfund also favours businesses that advance gender equality. Almost all of Early Dawn’s clients are women, while 66pc of senior management and 60pc of board members are female.

Source: Myanmar Times

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