Swiss based impact investor BlueOrchard Finance has expanded the Japan ASEAN Women Empowerment fund (JAWEF). Following the success of JAWEF, the fund will be increased to $241m to address the significant gap of financing women in Asia, increasing its outreach to 700,000 women in need.
JAWEF was launched in 2016 with the appreciation of the Japanese Government as the first fund of its kind focusing on empowering women in Asia.
The fund has been highly effective in mobilising private commercial capital and delivering on all its impact objectives, reaching out to approximately 230'000 female micro entrepreneurs by financing 21 microfinance institutions across 7 countries.
Building on this success, JAWEF will double in size and reach $241m. Its investment objective, to provide senior loans and subordinated debt to financially sustainable and socially responsible microfinance institutions focusing on female borrowers, remains unchanged; as does the fund's initial lifetime of 8 years.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), as well as Japanese institutional investors, among them Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, support the fund's expansion by increasing their participation on a pro rata basis. Furthermore, the renowned Sasakawa Peace Foundation will participate as new partner and investor.