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Taiwan, US join Women’s Livelihood Bond Series

2020-12-16
 
Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu (second right), Minister without Portfolio John Deng (second left), AIT Director Brent Christensen (right) and TaiwanICDF Secretary-General Timothy T.Y. Hsiang attend a press conference announcing Taiwan-U.S. cooperation on the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series Dec. 14 in Taipei City. (MOFA)
Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu (second right), Minister without Portfolio John Deng (second left), AIT Director Brent Christensen (right) and TaiwanICDF Secretary-General Timothy T.Y. Hsiang attend a press conference announcing Taiwan-U.S. cooperation on the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series Dec. 14 in Taipei City. (MOFA)
 
Taiwan and the U.S. announced cooperation on the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series Dec. 14, underscoring the like-minded partners’ commitment to gender equality through promoting economic empowerment as a path to prosperity for women in the Indo-Pacific.
 
Under the initiative, Taipei City-based International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), the country’s foremost foreign aid organization, joined with Singapore’s Impact Investment Exchange to jointly issue the third tranche of WLB earlier this month.
 
Valued at US$27.7 million and with a four-year tenure, the bond will support around 185,000 women and female entrepreneurs in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and other Asian countries and territories in accordance with U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
 
During a press conference to mark the announcement held at the Executive Yuan in Taipei, Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu said the WLB initiative is the second of its kind organized by Taiwan and the U.S. following a 2019 microfinancing program for small and medium enterprises headed by women in Paraguay.
 
In addition to fulfilling Taiwan’s role as a responsible member of the international community, the WLB also demonstrates the government’s commitment to expanding cooperation with Washington as part of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, Wu said, adding the two sides are always looking for ways to further regional development.
 
In response, American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen said the WLB builds upon existing platforms such as the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit and U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue. By providing essential credit access and needed linkages to help business owners rebuild during the COVID-19 pandemic, the project exemplifies a shared commitment to facilitating women’s economic participation, he added.
 
Managed by IIX, the WLB is a US$150 million debt security set to benefit at least 3 million women across Asia. The first tranche was issued in 2017 and raised US$8.5 million benefitting 385,000 people, while the second was issued in early 2020 and raised US$12 million.
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