Norfund and Proximity Designs sign Loan Agreement in Nay Pyi Taw, September 25th

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Nov 20, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Norfund and Proximity Designs sign Loan Agreement in Nay Pyi Taw,
September 25th


In a

landmark agreement, Norfund
-

the Norwegian government’s investment fund
for developing countries
-

and Proximity Designs signed a $2 million loan that will
allow Proximity to extend microloans to thousands more small farmers throughout
the country.


Th
is is a

significant step forward for Myanmar’s emerging microfin
ance
sector, as it
is the first loan

made
by a foreign financial institution to a
n organization operating a
microfinance program in Myanmar.
The breakthrough agreement demonstrates
how intern
ational debt
-
finance

can partner with local lending specialists to
accelerate rural development, a key goal of the administration of Myanmar’s
President U Thein Sein
.


The signing, held in the Myanmar Convention Centre in
Nay Pyi Taw, was witnessed
by

Mini
ster of the President’s Office U Soe Thein
;

Minister of Finance

and Revenue

U
Win

Shein;

Minister

of Rural Development U Ohn Myint; Minister of Commerce

U
Win Myint

;

the Managing Director of the Myanmar Microfinance Supervisory
Enterprise

(MMSE)

U Win Aun
g
; and
Katja Christina Nordgaard, Ambassador

of
Norway
to Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar
.

In h
is speech, U Soe Thein reiterated
how important access to credit was for helping farmers out of poverty.


“We are fortunate to be partnering with Norfund, which
i
s sharing its
ex
tensive
microfinance
expertise
in developing countries.
T
his loan will allow us

to

reach
approximately 13,000 additional farming households over the next two

years,
” said
Debbie Aung Din,
Proximity
’s
co
-
founder
.



The Myanmar Government has greatly expanded the country’s
access to
microfinance, introducing

comprehensive
new rules and regulations in 2011
and

granting licences to 166

organizations
as of end of August

this year
.

The Myanmar
Microfinance Supervisory En
terprise,
part of the Ministry of Finance
,

has moved
recently to incorporate international standards and practices in its efforts to expand
financial inclusion for Myanmar’s millions of fa
rmers and small business owners.


About Proximity


Proximity
, establ
ished in Myanmar in 2004,

is a
n award winning

social enterprise,

providing income boosting

products and services

to rural smallholders, including
irrigation and energy products,
farming
advisory services, and most recently,
microloans.

Since 2004
, Proximi
ty has delivered

products and services to over 2.5
million rural households in Myanmar
.


In 2012, Proximity
obtained its microfinance license, enabling it to
significantly
expand a
pilot

farm loan program first
establishe
d in five townships in the
Ayerwadd
y

Delta in respo
nse to Nargis deva
station.


Proximity is al
so collaborating
with
LIFT, the Li
velihoods and Food Security

Trust

Fund

of Myanmar, which is
supporting Proximity’s microfinance program with a $2.3 million grant.


www.proximitydesigns.org


About Norfund


Norfund


the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries


invests in the
establishment and development of profitable and sustainable enterprises in
developing countries. The aim is to contribute to economic growth and poverty
reduct
ion. Norfund is owned by the Norwegian Government and serves as a key
instrument in Norwegian development policy. Norfund always invests with
partners, Norwegian or foreign, focusing on renewable energy, agribusiness and
financial institutions. The main ar
eas of investment are in Eastern and Southern
Africa with regional offices located in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Maputo.
Additionally, Norfund invest
s

in selected countries in South and Southeast Asia and
Central America with regional offices in San José an
d Bangkok.
Norfund considers
Myanmar a priority country.
At mid
-
year 2013, Norfund had a portfoli
o of about
USD 1.4 billion and
around 55 employees.