IFC is investing $470 million in, about 1 billion Brazilian reais, to expand access to finance for women-owned businesses throughout Brazil.
This is the first investment of IFC’s Banking on Women program in Latin America and the largest worldwide. It will help promote inclusive growth and job creation, as well as additional developmental benefits that come through improved credit access to women, such as access to quality education, health and housing.
IFC’s investment consists of a $100 million loan and a $370 million syndicated loan. The syndicated loan participants include Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and the Development Bank of Japan.
More than 40 percent of businesses registered in Latin America and the Caribbean are owned by women, according to the World Bank-IFC Enterprise survey. However, the credit gap for women-owned enterprises remains high throughout the region. Brazil is the country with the largest gap, where 45 percent of women-owned SMEs identify access to finance as a major constraint in operating and growing their businesses. In addition to financing, IFC intends to provide advisory services to help Itau Unibanco develop financial products that will address the needs of women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“Gender equality is at the center of the development agenda in Brazil, and expanding access to finance for women-owned SMEs, is a critical part of IFCs strategy to expand opportunities and inclusion in the country,” said IFC CEO and EVP, Jin-Yong Cai. “This partnership will bring IFC’s successful Banking on Women program to Latin American.”
“We very much welcome IFC’s partnership and support to help Itaú Unibanco expand its women owned SMEs base while providing additional long-term capital from important partner financial institutions”, said Cândido Bracher, Itaú BBA CEO.
“Women behave, think and act differently than men so there is a need to consider new ways to serve this important sector”, said Andrea Pinotti, Director at Itaú Unibanco. “This transaction with IFC is another important step to consolidate Itau Unibanco’s project in providing more access to women entrepreneurs”, Pinotti added.
IFC’s financing for Itau Unibanco within the Banking on Women Program is part of the World Bank Group’s approach to support Government policies and priorities in Brazil aimed at reducing gender gaps in access to quality health and education services, closing differences in economic opportunities between women and men, and enhancing women's voice in society.
IFC’s Banking on Women program is playing a catalytic role in helping financial institutions to serve women entrepreneurs in a sustainable and profitable. Since its launch in 2010 it has made 20 investments totaling $165 million in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.