IFC invests USD 75 mn to boost loans to Turkey’s women entrepreneurs
Over the past six years, IFC has committed over 100 million euros to Garanti Group Romania, including banking and leasing services, to help finance SMEs.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has invested USD 75 million in a bond issue by Turkey's Garanti Bank—the first private sector gender bond in emerging markets dedicated to financing enterprises and companies owned or managed by women. The investment is in partnership with the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF), launched by IFC through its Banking on Women Program, and Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women initiative.
The new bond has a six-year term maturity and is issued in line with IFC's social bonds criteria. All the financing raised though the issue is earmarked for on-lending to Garanti Bank's women-owned small businesses. The issue is expected to triple the number of loans to these clients over the next five years.
In Turkey, nearly 30 percent fewer women than men have access to financial services. Only about 9 percent of small and medium enterprises are owned by women and these face a credit gap of USD 5 billion, constraining growth. The gender bond, a new financing structure both in the Turkish market and international capital markets, will help create funding to support these women entrepreneurs and business owners.
"We are delighted to be able to introduce this new funding instrument to the Turkish market to obtain fresh funding for women entrepreneurs through this pioneering bond issue," said Garanti Bank CEO Fuat Erbil. "We have been offering products and services for women entrepreneurs since 2006, including over 5 billion Turkish liras in financial support, to help them grow and, in turn, drive broader economic growth."
The collaboration is part of IFC's strategy in Turkey to boost financial inclusion, especially for women entrepreneurs. Over the last seven years, IFC has worked with Turkish banks to provide USD 61 million in financing for women entrepreneurs under its Banking on Women program, launched a program to support women in supply chains, and engaged in efforts to increase the number of women on company boards.
"Strengthening women's participation in Turkey's economy helps to unleash untapped potential for employment and economic growth. Our partnership with Garanti Group in Turkey and the region ensures that smaller companies and women entrepreneurs will continue to have access to the funds they need to grow and create jobs" said Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.
The WEOF is a first-of-its-kind facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for 100,000 women entrepreneurs globally. IFC's Banking on Women Program has committed 64 investments globally worth USD 1.71 billion, and advised on 39 projects since its launch in 2010. Of these, the WEOF has supported over USD 1 billion in commitments to financial institutions in 26 countries.
"This exciting deal allows Garanti Bank to access an innovative financing tool to promote gender-based financing and could be a model that is replicated in other markets," said Cristina Shapiro, Head of 10,000 Women. "Goldman Sachs research shows that closing the credit gap for women-owned SMEs in emerging markets could push income per capita an average of 12 percent higher by 2030. Women entrepreneurs have real potential to impact Turkey's future growth."
IFC and Garanti Bank previously cooperated to spur lending to women in Romania. Over the past six years, IFC has committed over 100 million euros to Garanti Group Romania, including banking and leasing services, to help finance SMEs.
Turkey is IFC's second-largest country exposure globally with a USD 5 billion committed portfolio, and IFC's office in Istanbul, established 30 years ago, is one of its largest outside Washington, D.C. providing services across regions. Since its first investment over half a century ago, IFC has supported Turkey's private sector with over USD 15 billion in investments in more than 350 projects.