Source: BRAC Myanmar
In Myanmar, less than 26% of adults have access to formal financial services, with most of the economy reliant on moneylenders, pawnshops and hundis.
BRAC is an NGO that started as a limited relief operation in 1972 in a remote village in Bangladesh, and has grown to become the largest development organisation in the world impacting the lives of 1 in every 55 people on the planet. BRAC’s holistic approach to development includes providing microfinance services to those excluded from the formal system, particularly women and the rural poor.
With OPIC’s support, BRAC Myanmar will provide more loans to increase financial inclusion in the country, bringing access to credit to people living in poverty, especially women, in rural areas. BRAC Myanmar has already provided close to 250,000 microfinance loans to women entrepreneurs in the country, and more than 2,500 small business and agriculture loans.
This transaction will support OPIC’s “2X Women’s Initiative” and advances the institution’s focus on lower income countries. OPIC has previously partnered with BRAC to support its microfinance operations in Uganda and Tanzania, in other transactions structured by Enclude.
Alistair Mackie, Director at Enclude, says, “Alignment is critical when we design these transactions. It’s not enough just to find any investor for some new opportunity. We’ve had a relationship with BRAC for several decades and have secured commitments of over US$100mn for their microfinance operations around the world. We continue to help them with new strategies and financing for their international operations. Because we know both BRAC and OPIC so well, we were able to help forge a truly aligned relationship.”
This is the largest single amount of external financing that BRAC Myanmar has secured to develop and grow its operations. Leveraging BRAC’s global infrastructure, including BRAC USA – BRAC’s non-profit US affiliate – and BRAC International BV in the Netherlands, and partnering with a hedging provider, Enclude was able to structure a transaction that met OPIC’s statutory requirements and at the same time mitigated credit risk for the lender and currency risk for the borrower.
Alistair adds, “BRAC is the real deal. It puts the interests of its clients first, staying true to its mission of empowering people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice in everything it does. It has deservedly been ranked consistently as one of the top NGOs in the world.”
“One of the most effective ways to empower the people of Myanmar is to help them access financial services so they can start and grow businesses, increase their earnings and invest in their families,” said David Bohigian, OPIC Acting President and CEO. “OPIC’s loan to BRAC will support thousands of loans to women and other groups who are not served by mainstream financial institutions.”
Enclude, Palladium's Capital Advisory business, connects clients with the capital they need to finance their growth. The investor base it can tap includes public, private and philanthropic sources; the transactions it arranges create opportunities that generate both financial returns and social value. Visit www.EncludeCapital.com for more information.