28 Apr, 2015, 04:00 ET
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial inclusion pioneer Accion, the Dutch development bank FMO, and Triodos Investment Management today announced their plans to invest in and expand Dawn Microfinance, one of the earliest microfinance institutions (MFIs) established in the Republic of Myanmar. The $6.85 million investment is intended to establish the newly incorporated MFI as a premier institution that can serve as a model for the country's nascent microfinance industry and influence the development of the sector.
Originally launched in 2002 as a program of Save the Children, Dawn is now a licensed microfinance institution, today serving approximately 30,000 clients with loans ranging from $50 to $250. It consists of 120 employees and 12 branches in four different regions of Myanmar.
Under the new structure, Accion will hold 40 percent of the new company and will serve as the operating partner; FMO and funds managed by Triodos Investment Management will each hold 30 percent. Save the Children will remain a strategic partner, with a role in governance. With a shared commitment to improving financial inclusion in Myanmar, the consortium members seek to rapidly increase the MFI's outreach, as well as its product diversification.
Despite slowly-improving economic conditions, Myanmar remains one of the poorest countries in Asia. More than a quarter of the population of 51 million lives in poverty, with 80-90 percent lacking access to formal financial services. Of 187 countries in the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index, Myanmar ranks 150th.
"We are thrilled to enter Myanmar and to grow and expand financial inclusion," said Accion CEO and President Michael Schlein. "In so doing, we can help the country emerge from decades of isolation and build a vibrant, inclusive economy. The demand for financial services throughout the country is booming and we believe we can help meet those needs. Over our history, we have helped to build 64 microfinance institutions in 32 countries and we are excited to bring that experience to Myanmar. Our goal is to provide many more entrepreneurs and families with the financial tools they need to realize their economic potential."
"Myanmar is a country with great economic upside potential, waiting to blossom," said FMO CEO Nanno Kleiterp. "Our combined efforts greatly contribute to improving the access to finance and will support the creation of jobs for many people."
Femke Bos, Fund Manager, Triodos Microfinance Fund, said, "With this joint investment we are very much looking forward to being part of Dawn's development and journey to expand its outreach. By doing so we can make a substantial contribution to improving financial inclusion in Myanmar."
The consortium intends to strengthen Dawn's operations by seconding senior staff; implementing new training and coaching programs; developing a wider range of products and services; establishing new HR and IT systems and internal controls; and prioritizing customer education and protection.
Accion, FMO and Triodos Investment Management will measure their collective success in Myanmar by both assessing Dawn's performance and examining how the work's 'demonstration effect' will encourage other financial inclusion leaders to invest in the country. The consortium anticipates that Dawn can serve as a role model for other microfinance institutions, helping to support and embed client protection, sound governance, financial literacy and social-performance management across the fledgling industry.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, and over the last 50 years have helped create 64 such institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. Our impact investing initiatives are pushing beyond microfinance to catalyze more than 20 innovative start-ups dedicated to improving the efficiency, reach and scope of financial services for the poor. And our Center for Financial Inclusion is helping to build a stronger industry with high standards. Currently, our work spans nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., where we are the nation's largest nonprofit microfinance network. For further information, visit www.accion.org.
FMO (the Netherlands Development Finance Company) is the Dutch development bank. For 45 years, FMO has been investing in the private sector in developing countries. We believe in a world in 2050 where nine billion people can live well and within the boundaries of the planet. In pursuit of this vision, our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to build a better world. We specialize in sectors where we believe our contribution can have the highest long-term impact: financial institutions, energy and agribusiness. Alongside partners, we invest in the infrastructure, manufacturing and services sectors. With an investment portfolio of EUR 8 billion, FMO is one of the largest bilateral private sector development banks. www.fmo.nl
About Triodos Investment Management
Triodos Investment Management is a specialist in developing and managing sustainable investment funds. At the end of 2014 Triodos Investment Management managed 17 investment funds that each invest in different sustainability themes and/or have different risk-return profiles. The funds focus on investments in renewable energy, sustainable real estate, culture, organic farming, organic food and sustainable lifestyle companies, microfinance in developing countries, and investments in listed companies that meet strict sustainability criteria (SRI funds). At the end of December 2014 the combined assets under management of the Triodos investment funds amounted to EUR 2.7 billion. Triodos Investment Management BV is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV and is based in The Netherlands. www.triodos.com
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