ImpactAlpha, April 8 – Some 70% of Myanmar’s 55 million population live off the land for their livelihoods. Yet more than two thirds of people don’t have a bank account, let alone access to formal credit and other financial services critical to operating a farm.
Proximity Finance, one of the country’s few farmer-facing microfinance institutions, serves the financial needs of about 100,000 households. The firm aims to nearly double that number over the next five years and have dispersed one million loans. To jumpstart that growth the firm has raised $10 million in debt from OPIC, the U.S. development finance institution, and the Skoll Foundation.
Catalytic to the deal was Skoll’s $2 million in subordinated debt, which helped de-risked an $8 million loan for OPIC and lowered the overall cost of the $10 million loan for Proximity. “This model enables Proximity Finance to leverage commercial capital from an organization like OPIC that we would not normally be able to access were it not for the presence of Skoll,” said Proximity’s Ben Warren.
Proximity Design, Proximity Finance’s parent company, received a Skoll award in 2012.