Press Release: DFC Promotes Gender Equity in Financing Across India With $50 Million Investment
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today announced the second disbursement of a $50 million loan to Northern Arc Capital to expand access to loans in several priority sectors across India. Financing will primarily benefit women-owned businesses as well as products and services benefitting women, along with businesses in the food security and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectors.
“Many communities across the globe face acute food security, sanitation, and financial inclusion challenges, which adversely impact women-owned enterprises,” said Vice President for DFC’s Office of External Affairs Algene Sajery. “DFC’s support for Northern Arc is an investment in women’s economic empowerment and sends a powerful message of U.S. government support for gender equity in India.”
“Northern Arc plays an important role in the Indian financial ecosystem by bringing underbanked businesses and households under the ambit of formal finance,” said Northern Arc MD & CEO Dr. Kshama Fernandes. “A large proportion of these are women borrowers and entrepreneurs. A women-led organization, the team strongly believes in diversity and the role women can play in generating positive outcomes for society and for the economy as a whole. The investment by US DFC will help Northern Arc expand financing to many such deserving borrowers.”
Women-owned businesses across the globe are chronically underfunded. In India, female entrepreneurs face a financing gap of hundreds of millions of dollars, while women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face a gap in the tens of billions of dollars.
DFC’s $50 million investment will help close these financing gaps. With this loan, Northern Arc will provide expanded financing to its network of inclusive financial institutions, entrepreneurs and small businesses catalyzing traditionally underserved populations to create new jobs and grow their local economies.
This investment advances DFC’s Women’s 2X Initiative, which has committed more than $4 billion of investment in projects that empower women in developing countries. It also qualifies for the 2X Challenge, an initiative of the G7 countries to support women’s economic empowerment. At least 40 percent of the DFC-supported investment will be deployed to and disbursed by institutions that cater specifically to women borrowers. A leader in promoting financial inclusion in India, Northern Arc is managed by a female CEO and COO, and 30 percent of the senior leadership is female.