US commits US$ 150 million to support small businesses, empower women

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COLOMBO –The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has awarded US$ 150 million in funding to Sri Lanka’s DFCC Bank to bolster local small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, strengthen private sector investment, and support women entrepreneurs.  This is the largest DFC loan disbursement for Sri Lanka to date and follows a previous DFC funding line of US$ 75 million to NDB Bank.

A portion of the loan will be directed towards SMEs owned or led by Sri Lankan women, the US Embassy in Sri Lanka said in a statement on Monday (12), adding that by empowering women in business, the agreement aligns with the US’ broader goals of expanding financial inclusivity, tackling gender inequality, and increasing support for women-led enterprises.

It quoted US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Alaina Teplitz, as saying, “Economically empowered women uplift themselves and transform families, communities, and countries.  In order for societies to thrive, women must have access to resources and opportunities. The economic consequences of the pandemic make gender-inclusive investment even more essential.”

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is the development finance institution of the United States government, primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in countries around the world.  This assistance is part of DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative, which has mobilized US$ 7 billion in private sector investment toward women’s economic empowerment and aims to provide an additional US$ 12 billion by 2025 to advance gender equity in emerging markets worldwide.

-ENCL

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