U.S. commits USD 40 Million loan to support small businesses, empower Sri Lankan women

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The U.S. Government committed a $40 million loan to Sri Lanka’s SDB bank to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and women entrepreneurs.

The loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the U.S. Government’s development bank, aims to support private sector investment and economic growth in Sri Lanka.

DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing developing countries, including in the Indo-Pacific region, the Embassy of U.S. said in a statement issued earlier today (February 02).

This loan represents the DFC’s first investment in Sri Lanka since its launch in 2019. DFC is a modernized, consolidated agency that brings together the capabilities of the former Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority, while introducing new and innovative financial products to better bring private capital to developing countries.

The SDB bank will use the $40 million to provide roughly 1,450 loans, ranging from 5 to 10 million LKR each, to SMEs throughout Sri Lanka. At least forty percent of those loans will be granted to businesses that are owned by women, led by women, or provide a product or service that empowers women, supporting DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative. This support will bolster Sri Lanka’s post-pandemic economic recovery and empower hundreds of local women, a key development goal for both the United States and Sri Lanka.

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Alaina Teplitz said “Countries that promote robust female participation in their economies are not only more just societies, they are more prosperous societies.  This initiative will encourage and support the aspirations of women entrepreneurs throughout the country.”

Thilak Piyadigama, CEO of SDB bank added “This loan will go a long way towards ensuring a more self-sufficient country, where hardworking Sri Lankans, who are the engine of progress, realize their financial ambitions. We are also focused on utilizing these funds to create a new era of financial freedom and empowerment for female entrepreneurs.”

The United States is committed to helping women throughout the world reach their potential.  In 2020 alone, DFC’s 2X Initiative helped mobilize $7 billion in private sector investment towards women’s economic empowerment.

“We are proud to provide financing that will increase opportunity for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka, an important U.S. partner in the region,” said Acting DFC Chief Executive Officer Dev Jagadesan. “Our investments aim to increase development and economic growth to benefit the people of Sri Lanka.”