Australia working with impact investors to support women’s economic empowerment in Southeast Asia

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

An investment by the Australian Government is set to unlock millions of dollars in private impact investment to support women and the long-term economic future of Southeast Asia.

Investing in businesses that empower women and girls is essential to expanding economic growth and promoting social development across our region.

Australia’s $5.6 million investment is being provided through our Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund, which mobilises private finance for small and medium sized enterprises to achieve sustainable development outcomes.

Australia’s early-stage finance for the Southeast Asian Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund (SWEEF) has now catalysed both private and philanthropic co-investment from Australia, Canada and Europe.

This is the first time that Australia’s international development program will have directly attracted finance from both private and philanthropic Australian investors for development outcomes.

Our investment will support industries where women play a significant role, including sustainable food systems and livelihoods, promoting quality education, creating safe and healthy workplaces and fostering improved health systems.

Quote attributable to the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, The Hon Pat Conroy MP

“The development needs of our region far exceed what Government donors alone can provide. Development finance approaches like the Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund help create the conditions for private capital to contribute to development goals, benefiting our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific and Australia”.

Quote attributable to Founder and Managing Director of SWEEF Capital, Ms Jennifer Buckley

“Having the Australian Government as an early investor in the Southeast Asian Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund has been instrumental in catalysing institutional investors and family offices, including from Australia, Canada and Europe”

“This builds an investment approach that genuinely hits development goals and shows that we can move capital into these markets and target strong outcomes for people and the planet.”

Quote attributable to John Hartman, Chief Executive Officer of Tattarang; the private investment group owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest:

“The investment in the Southeast Asian Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund is part of Tattarang’s strategy of committing capital to women-led and founded businesses.”

“Evidence shows that female economic development delivers powerful social impact that benefits everyone and there is a strong correlation between gender equality and organisational success across profitability, attraction and retention of best talent, and business reputation.”

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