OSAKA, JAPAN (29 June 2019) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao handed to Japan Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe a report on an ADB project in Sri Lanka financed by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) at the Leaders’ Special Event on Women’s Empowerment at the Osaka G20 Summit today. World leaders were in attendance as Mr. Nakao presented the report, accompanied by training program coordinator for the We-Fi project Ms. Zahra Cader.
Since 2016, ADB has supported efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka to foster women’s entrepreneurship through the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Line of Credit Project. This reflects a central pillar of ADB’s new Strategy 2030 in promoting gender equality. In April 2018, ADB received a $12.6 million grant from We-Fi which enabled the project to expand its gender-related impacts through greater access to finance, training, and mentorship for women-owned or led SMEs.
So far, 323 women-owned or led SMEs employing 3,934 people have financially benefitted from the We-Fi grant. In addition, ADB will strengthen the technical capacity of a wide range of stakeholders, including government, banks, chambers of commerce, and SMEs to foster a women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Additionally, ADB received in April 2019 a further We-Fi grant equivalent to $20.19 million to support women’s entrepreneurship in Viet Nam and small island countries in the Pacific. Approximately 5,000 women-led SMEs from Viet Nam and the countries in the Pacific region will benefit from the 5-year program.
ADB invests in women’s entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific as part of its commitment to advancing women’s economic empowerment, which is one of the operational priorities of its newly adopted Strategy 2030. By 2030, it is expected that 75% of all ADB projects will promote gender equality.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.