The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to provide an investment guarantee to Nationwide Microbank (MiBank) Limited to support female entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout Papua New Guinea.
Around the globe, women play a critical role in poverty reduction and economic growth but remain underrepresented and economically excluded. In Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2019, only eight percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were owned by women. USAID assistance will support women borrowers and provide loans to MSMEs to stimulate economic growth in Papua New Guinea as part of President Biden’s plan to “build back better” and combat the COVID-19 pandemic to secure a better, more inclusive, future.
At the signing of the agreement, USAID Acting Mission Director Sean E. Callahan said, “This new partnership between USAID, DFC and MiBank will support PNG’s small businesses so they can continue to thrive and contribute to stabilizing PNG’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” This investment guarantee is a demonstration of fiscal partnership between the United States and Papua New Guinea that promises rapid growth and mutual prosperity.
DFC’s Vice President External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives Algene Sajery added, “This first DFC transaction in Papua New Guinea illustrates DFC’s commitment to unlocking the economic potential of women. The MiBank project is just one example of USAID and DFC partnership in action to achieve greater economic and development impact.”
MiBank CEO Tony Westaway highlighted that, “U.S. support is aligned with MiBank’s vision to be a commercially sustainable bank that contributes to financial inclusion by delivering innovative and affordable financial services to meet the needs of our customers.”
Under this partnership, USAID will assist borrowers by helping them gain financial literacy skills and other skills related to general business management. USAID will also link MSMEs and women borrowers who could benefit from the MiBank guarantee facility, as well as facilitate linkages to cooperatives and business associations to help improve their businesses. The guarantee has the potential to unlock lifesaving social benefits and robust economic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.