Pro Mujer Issues First Gender Bond in Argentina
22 February, 2023
Pro Mujer, a leading social enterprise that provides financial, health, and skilling services to women in Latin America, has issued the first gender bond in Argentina. Approved by the CNV at its January 18th meeting of the Board of Directors, bond proceeds will be used exclusively (100%) to fund Pro Mujer’s financial services portfolio.
Backed by the country’s leading banks, the bond is worth $200 million Argentine pesos and has a 12-month maturity period. It is the first gender bond issued following the recent implementation of the simplified regime for social impact bonds. The issuance results will be announced at an event hosted by the CNV with the participation of all stakeholders involved in the process. The event will be streamed live on YouTube.
Pro Mujer will use the bond proceeds to provide loans to more than 1,700 low-income women entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 75 who own micro and small businesses in the semi-formal sector that provide products or services, including commercial, textile, or agricultural, and who need investment or working capital for their micro business or for their families but are unable to access appropriate and/or timely financing from traditional banks. As the first social impact bond issued in Argentina focused 100% on gender, this is a clear milestone when it comes to financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs in Argentina.
The bond is guaranteed and backed by Banco Galicia, Banco Hipotecario, Banco Comaﬁ, and Banco Supervielle, with Allaria Ledesma & Cia participating as placement agent. The law firm Mitrani, Caballero & Ruiz Moreno provided the legal guidance necessary to structure the gender bond under the simplified regime, while Beccar Varela provided legal guidance to the guarantors.
The issuance is classified as a social impact bond based on the pioneering regime recently approved by the CNV, unprecedented in Latin America. To qualify under this new regime, a bond must be guaranteed by an entity registered with the CNV and receive a positive social impact assessment issued by a third party registered with the CNV. The impact assessment for the Pro Mujer gender bond was conducted by the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, which rated the Pro Mujer bond as a BS2-BUENOS Social Impact Bond, meaning that the bond offers a “good” social solution with projects that generate positive social impact for the target population.
Bonds are a fixed-income security that offer investors the promise of future payment of their principal and interest and are traded on the local capital market. They are regulated via a transparent public offering structure that requires the issuing entity to be previously evaluated, rated, and, in this case, guaranteed by entities registered with the CNV.
Although there has been some success using traditional financial instruments to raise financing for non-profit organizations, the development by the CNV of a simplified regime for the issuance of social impact bonds marks a watershed moment for the national market, as this model offers issuers access to a simplified public offering regime similar to the one in force for small and medium enterprises.
Carmen Correa, CEO of Pro Mujer, commented on the initiative’s scope: “The innovative use of the capital markets by a social enterprise is truly cutting edge and positions Pro Mujer as a leader in Argentina and Latin America. Receiving the backing of such important financial entities and institutions has been extremely validating and encouraged us to continue transforming the lives of the women we support. By facilitating this initiative, the CNV has made its long-term vision clear and has set a unique precedent that will facilitate the growth of social impact bonds in the country. We’re delighted that more and more leaders in the investment world are highlighting the importance of gender lens investing.”
“Here at CNV, we celebrate the hard work and collaboration from both the public and private sectors that made this issuance possible,” said Monica Erpen, Director of the CNV. “The Pro Mujer, Techo, and Sumatoria bond issuances prove that with trust and hard work, we can make seemingly impossible projects a reality. The proceeds will allow thousands of small business owners and families to access the money they need to build and grow their businesses. The important thing here isn’t the financing raised, but the number of people who will benefit from this bond, the first-ever gender bond in Argentina, and any future social impact bonds.”
Recognized for advancing gender equality in the region, Pro Mujer is a key player in the financial inclusion of vulnerable women across Latin America. The organization provides support to women living in both urban and rural areas via Pro Mujer offices located in the cities of Buenos Aires (Liniers [CABA] and Lomas de Zamora), Salta, Tucumán, and Jujuy
Since its founding in Los Altos, Bolivia, Pro Mujer has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities to women unable to access traditional financing in Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Its holistic model has three main objectives: facilitate women’s financial inclusion in Latin America, expand access to health services, and provide skilling and training opportunities. To date, Pro Mujer has placed USD 4 billion in microloans, provided 10 million preventive health services, and impacted the lives of more than 2 million women.
About Pro Mujer
For more than 32 years, Pro Mujer has provided services and tools to women in Latin America to help them reach their full potential and become agents of change in their communities.
The organization’s comprehensive, holistic model is focused on facilitating women’s financial inclusion in Latin America, expanding access to health services, and providing skilling and training opportunities.
Based on its extensive knowledge of the most pressing needs of women in Latin America, Pro Mujer designs innovative programs that seek to respond to issues such as gender-based violence and the digital gender gap. The organization is a pioneer in gender lens investing in Latin America and works to raise awareness of how it can be used to close existing gender gaps and boost productivity.
Pro Mujer’s work is closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and contributes tangible results to the following SDGs: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, and 16.
For more information, visit www.promujer.org.