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Report: US Institutions Back Loans For Women, SMBs In India

The U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. International Development Finance Corp. are jointly offering $50 million in guarantees to a portfolio of loans India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank will offer women and owners of small businesses domestically, the agencies announced in a press release.

Among the beneficiaries will be owners of micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses, the release stated.

The goal of the program is to benefit 30,000 women — half the loans must go to women-led organizations — and 7,500 owners of small- and micro-businesses, according to the release.

“Against the backdrop of the pandemic, this partnership will help MSMEs that have been impacted by COVID-19 access loans to rebuild and scale their businesses,” USAID stated in the release.

In India, the program will be backed by NBFC Vivriti Capital of Chennai using a platform called Credavenue. NBFC reportedly will cover initial losses, should they occur, of up to $1 million.

“These two segments have been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, and this program will provide credit and help women entrepreneurs and MSMEs to not only scale up their businesses, but also generate employment,” program participant KMB’s Group President D Kannan said in the release.

USAID India Mission Director Veena Reddy reportedly said: “At USAID, we believe gender equality and women’s empowerment are not just a part of development but are the core of development. Women in India have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, facing economic hardships that directly impact the livelihoods of their families and communities.”

“Empowering women-owned MSMEs is critical to fostering inclusive growth in India, and will also help bolster India’s post-pandemic recovery,” Algene Sajery, vice president of the Office of External Affairs and Head of Development Finance Corp.’s Global Gender Equity Initiatives, said in the release. “DFC is proud to support this program, which brings together key players in the Indian financial system to help amplify the reach and development impact of our loan guaranty.”

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