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December 4, 2023

First Gender Bond in South Asia Launched by InfraZamin Pakistan and Kashf Foundation

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The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is pleased to announce the First Gender Bond in South Asia Launched by InfraZamin Pakistan and Kashf Foundation.

Proceeds of the gender bond will finance women-led infrastructure projects in Pakistan. The bond has a 100% principal guarantee by InfraZamin Pakistan, a local currency guarantee facility set up by the Private Infrastructure Development Group and Karandaaz Pakistan.


4 December 2023, Dubai

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) celebrates the Pakistan Stock Exchange launch of South Asia’s first gender bond in recognition of the day on Finance and Gender Equality at COP28. The bond was issued in July this year by Kashf Foundation in partnership with InfraZamin Pakistan and Arif Habib Limited, and closed with more than 25 local private sector investors on 30 November.

The PKR 2.5 billion (approx. USD 8.7 million) gender bond is credit-rated ‘AAA’ long-term and ‘A1+’ by the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) and comes with a 100% principal guarantee, as well as a partial guarantee for two interest installments from InfraZamin Pakistan.

The three-year gender bond will be used to finance women-led micro-infrastructure projects such as the expansion of schools in rural and semi-rural areas, renovation and development of climate-resilient low-income housing – including houses damaged or affected by floods – and development and growth of small women-led businesses via working capital and business expansion lending.

The 2023 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report provides a strong impetus for such initiatives being launched in the region. Pakistan’s ‘economic participation and opportunity’ gender parity score is 36.2%. The population-weighted average for the same score is less than 40% for the South Asian region (37.2%) (data via World Economic Forum).

As 99.7% of Kashf Foundation’s borrowers are women, all proceeds of the bond are ensured to fund the issuance of at least 30,000 loans directly to women. This will support SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth by sustaining existing jobs and creating new jobs for women over the loan utilisation period.


Maheen Rahman, CEO of InfraZamin Pakistan, said:

“We are very pleased to have supported Kashf Foundation in this landmark transaction. The gender bond has brought in over 25 non-banking institutional investors in Pakistan, serving as a positive indicator for Pakistan’s capital market development. We look forward to continuing our work in de-risking infrastructure projects through credit enhancement of such impactful initiatives in under-served sectors of the Pakistan economy.”


Philippe Valahu, CEO of PIDG, said:

“We are delighted to celebrate the launch of South Asia’s first gender bond together with InfraZamin Pakistan and Kashf Foundation. With the growing climate crisis, there is an urgent need to accelerate the deployment of inclusive, climate-resilient infrastructure. A core part of addressing this need is reducing reliance on international development finance and unlocking local capital waiting to be invested. PIDG recognises this gap in our 2030 strategy, and is committed to working with strategic regional partners and local investors to roll out local credit enhancement facilities, like InfraZamin Pakistan, across Asia and Africa.”


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For more information, please contact:

Marcel Klebba

Communications Manager

Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG)
+44 (0) 7467 704855

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About PIDG

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty. PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity, and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 211 infrastructure projects to financial close which provided an estimated 222 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC.

About InfraZamin Pakistan

InfraZamin Pakistan, a AAA credit-rated firm, is deeply committed to supporting the infrastructure development of Pakistan through private-sector engagement. With a strong focus on sustainable development, InfraZamin collaborates with public and private stakeholders to unlock investment opportunities, mitigate credit risks, and mobilize capital for crucial infrastructure initiatives. By leveraging its expertise and partnerships, InfraZamin aims to contribute significantly to the nation’s infrastructure development agenda and pave the way for a prosperous and resilient future. InfraZamin Pakistan is a PIDG initiative in partnership with Karandaaz Pakistan. It is financed by PIDG through funding from InfraCo Asia and PIDG Technical Assistance, and a contingent capital facility by GuarantCo.

About Kashf Foundation

Kashf Foundation is a leading gender-intentional, pro-poor, and client-responsive organization with over 25 years of experience in empowering women through financial services. As the pioneer of women-led microfinance in Pakistan, the Kashf Foundation has led a transformative movement that has empowered millions of women from low-income households. By continuously offering innovative and impactful products and services, Kashf is at the forefront of mainstreaming efforts to uplift women and promote gender equality.

About Arif Habib Limited

Arif Habib Limited (“AHL”) is a leading investment banking, securities brokerage and economic research firm; having been recognized as the Country’s best in the latest awards by the CFA Society of Pakistan and Asia Money. AHL is amongst the most active investment banking firms in Pakistan and is currently advising on various transactions such as Mergers and acquisitions (“M&As”), Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”), Term Finance Certificates, Sukuks, Securitizations, Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”), Private Equity placements. AHL’s brokerage operations are among the most renowned and trusted in Pakistan assisting scores of Institutional, Corporate, High Net Worth and Retail clients. AHL is the only non-banking financial institution out of over 600 listed companies that found its place in the “Top 25 Companies of Pakistan” voted by the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

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