Thai Bank partners with IFIs for region’s first women’s bonds

To advance women’s status and opportunities, Thailand’s Krungsri Bank has partnered with the International Finance Corporation and Goldman Sachs to launch Southeast Asia’s first Women’s Entrepreneurs Bonds.

Gender Equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The U.N. has said that Thailand is leading all other countries in Southeast Asia in achieving the goals.

The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility is a joint initiative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Goldman Sachs. It is the vehicle through which the two international financial institutions, or IFIs, are supporting the pioneering bond issue.

Krungsri will issue the bonds in two tranches, the first worth up to $150 million, and the second up to $70 million.

“Krungsri holds strong to our conviction in continuing to grow our business while fulfilling the broader goal of financial inclusion for the underserved. That includes the WSME (women small and medium enterprise) segment,” said Seiichiro Akita, Krungsri’s President and CEO.

“This issuance reaffirms our commitment to corporate citizenship practices and our broader ambition to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Krungsri executives said that more than half of the small and medium enterprises in Thailand lack adequate access to financing. The problem is especially acute for small businesses owned by women.

“We are focused on closing gaps in access to finance and education for women entrepreneurs. That is why we support innovative capital solutions such as the first private-sector “gender” bond in the Asia Pacific region,” said Cristina Shapiro of Goldman Sachs.

“Women entrepreneurs have real potential to impact Thailand’s future growth,” she added.

Photo courtesy of