Asian Development Bank Has Issued the First Gender Bonds

The offering is aimed to expand opportunities for women

The Asian Development Bank, which had issued the first gender bonds on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE), raised about 8.4 billion tenge or $20 million.

The ten-year bonds have been sold with a 10.15% semi-annual coupon; the organizer of the offering is Tengri Partners. The whole idea of gender bonds is devoted to women; such kind of equity should strengthen women’s rights and expand their opportunities.

As the Asian Development Bank (ADB) noted, these bonds might be seen as a new benchmark for long-term bonds that were issued by the international bank in the local currency of Kazakhstan.

All funds raised by banks will be allocated for the Promoting Gender Equality in Housing Finance Project. The goal of this 38-billion-tenge ($90.9 million) project is to facilitate Kazakhstani women in obtaining mortgage loans. The main partner of the project is Otbasy Bank, which will expand its lending operations to attract more female clients from small towns and rural areas. 

In October 2019 the ADB approved a $90.9 million loan for Kazakhstani Otbasy Bank (former Zhilstroysberbank) to «promote affordable residential mortgage loans for women borrowers in largely rural areas.» As the bank estimated, more than three thousand women in Kazakhstan could be able to improve their housing conditions with the help of these funds.

In turn, Otbasy Bank has also announced its plans to launch a female mortgage. According to Aliya Aydarbekova, deputy head of the bank, there are 4.4 million working women in Kazakhstan, but they earn a third less than men on average. 

It’s expected that women will be able to use these affordable loans to buy either new or existing housing with a maximum cost of 30 million tenge ($71,797). To obtain such a loan, the applicant should pay an initial installment of 15% if she earns less than 200,000 tenge a month ($480) and 20% if the borrower makes more than $480 a month. The preliminary rate that might be applied to these loans is about 12%.

In November 2020 ADB issued the first green bonds on the KASE when it raised more than $32 million. All these funds have been spent on climate projects in Kazakhstan.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. Throughout its history, ADB has issued more than $3.2 billion in thematic bonds to support education, gender, health and water projects.

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