Kashf Foundation and InfraZamin Pakistan Launch Pakistan’s First Gender Bond

Kashf Foundation, a licensed microfinance institution, and InfraZamin Pakistan, a licensed NBFI and credit guarantee provider, have entered into an agreement to introduce Pakistan’s inaugural “Gender Bond” to institutional investors. This pioneering financial instrument is closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and UN Women’s principles, aimed at strengthening Kashf’s lending portfolio exclusively dedicated to women. The bond will support micro-infrastructure projects such as school construction, flood rehabilitation, and women-led micro businesses. Playing a pivotal role in this initiative, Arif Habib Capital will act as the ‘Arranger’ for this bond.

The 3-year “Gender Bond” aspires to secure a substantial sum of PKR 2.5 billion through an initial private placement and subsequent OTC listing, making it accessible to a diverse spectrum of capital market investors. Bolstering its credibility and appeal, the bond has earned an “AAA” long-term and “A1+” credit rating from PACRA, thus solidifying its position as a secure and dependable investment avenue. Moreover, the inclusion of InfraZamin’s credit guarantee effectively addresses any potential concerns pertaining to credit risks.

Roshaneh Zafar, the Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, aptly pointed out that this collaboration heralds not only a significant milestone within the financial sector but also accelerates the process of generating financial avenues for women entrepreneurs. The concerted efforts to enhance affordable finance access for women-led enterprises seek to generate an array of employment prospects, stimulate sustainable economic growth, and fundamentally reshape the trajectory of women’s empowerment in Pakistan.

Maheen Rahman, the CEO of InfraZamin Pakistan, echoed the sentiment by emphasizing that this transaction signifies a substantial stride towards raising commercial capital to empower women and promote financial inclusion. This event, indicative of the development and growth within the capital market, underscores the potency of employing guarantees and credit enhancement mechanisms, which subsequently attract private institutional investment into projects led by the private sector.