The Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) has announced their Women’s Livelihood Bond matured on July 6, 2021, with investors receiving 5.65% between 2017 and 2021.

The WLB1 is the first issuance of the US$150M Women’s Livelihood Bond Series, a program of investments that aim to create sustainable business opportunities for more than 3 million underserved women in the Asia-Pacific region.

The bond met it’s financial goals, but it also met or exceeded its social impact targets focussed on increased financial inclusion and financial resilience.

“This is history in the making. When we created the world’s first exchange listed financial instrument for women over four years ago, we were faced with a lot of scepticism from financial institutions at the idea of a women-focused financial instrument. They were wrong, and we doubled down on our vision to connect the Back Streets of the world to Wall Street and make the markets work for underserved women.” Says Durreen Shahnaz, IIX CEO and Founder.

This first bond in the series had the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as The Rockefeller Foundation, ANZ, Shearman & Sterling, and Hogan Lovells. 

Investors are offered first loss protection, and a 50 per cent loan portfolio guarantee, provided  by USAID and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). 

The WLB Series has received several global multilateral awards, including the United Nations Climate Action Award and the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals (P4G) State-of-the-Art Partnership Award.

Durreen Shahnaz shows her deep faith in the program, investing her own funds, and working diligently to raise global interest in the issuance. 

“Our CIO, Robert Kraybill, and I,  believed so much in the promise of the WLB1 that we committed our own personal savings to provide the first loss capital in the WLB1. With this vote of confidence, the Bond immediately sold in the market. Four years on, the women never failed us or the investors once, allowing us to make every single payment on time.” Shahnaz says. 

High profile support from the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation are clear evidence of the rising appreciation for the strong returns that can come from investing both capital and time into financial inclusion for women. 

“The Rockefeller Foundation’s support for the Zero Gap initiative reflects our commitment to reimagine how private capital can help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, so we are thrilled to see the success of the IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond 1,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. 

“Not only does this success represent a landmark in attracting private sector support to sustainable development for emerging markets, it comes at a moment when we need public, private, and philanthropic support to ensure a sustainable, equitable recovery and build a brighter future for women and girls.”

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