The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, has announced a $5 million loan package to BRAC Myanmar Microfinance Company Limited, operated by BRAC International.
The financing will help BRAC Myanmar provide more loans and increase financial inclusion in Myanmar, a country where less than 26 per cent of the adult population has access to formal financial services.
The loan is backed by a guarantee from BRAC USA, a member of the BRAC family. The transaction is arranged by impact investment bank, Enclude.
“The investment by OPIC will enable its further expansion in support of financial inclusion in Myanmar, with a particular focus on women,” said Donella Rapier, president and CEO of BRAC USA, the North American affiliate of BRAC.
Established in 2013, BRAC Myanmar claims it has provided loans to more than 2,500 small business, with almost 250,000 microfinance loans for women entrepreneurs.
Started in Bangladesh, BRAC International assists the most marginalized people, including women and people living in rural areas, offering programmes such as nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education. The organization has since expanded across Asia and Africa.
The loan will support OPIC’s ‘2X Women’s Initiative’ and advances the agency’s focus on lower income countries.
OPIC’s investment in BRAC Myanmar follows an $8-million financing in Proximity Finance of Myanmar to support expanded micro lending to rural borrowers. The financing package includes a $2 million of subordinated debt from the Skoll Foundation.
Prior to that, it extended a $10 million loan to Myanmar’s Early Dawn Microfinance Ltd in May 2018, a follow-on commitment made after a $5 million loan provided in the previous year. OPIC’s first financing in Myanmar was into Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited with $250 million of loan disbursed in June 2016.
In Myanmar, BRAC has served with a loan book of $34 million with operations present across 37 townships in regions such as Yangon, Bago and Sagaing. The ticket loan size offered in Myanmar ranges between less than $100 to about $2000.
OPIC is already an existing partner of BRAC in supporting the microfinance operations in Tanzania and Uganda.
Previously, BRAC Myanmar had received loan injections from a local financial institution, Yoma Bank. In October 2018, Yoma Bank offered a K6.8 billion ($4.4 million) loan as a follow-on financing to the first tranche of K2 billion ($1.3 million) made in March 2018.