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Three Associations joint to promote Financial Inclusion and Awareness on Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs

On August 6, 2021, the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC), the Cambodian Microfinance Association (CMA) and the Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement to promote Financial Inclusion and to raise awareness of access to finance among women entrepreneurs.

The Memorandum of Agreement between the three associations was established with the aim of supporting the development plan of the Cambodian government, as well as complimenting the National Strategy for Financial Inclusiveness 2019-2025 to improve the financial eco system, to promote innovative credit products through strengthening and expanding cooperation, training, organizing events, joint workshops to improve financial literacy and financial inclusion among women entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises in Cambodia.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. In Channy, Chairman of the Association of Banks in Cambodia said that the MoA would be a testament to the efforts between the three associations to raise and mainstream financial literacy. The three associations would work together on training development in all aspects of the banking sector for female entrepreneurs, raising public financial knowledge and awareness of banking products and build sound understanding of financial access for women entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises from banking and financial institutions.

He continued, “Under this cooperation, the three associations will work together to enhance Gender Equality, Green Loans, Sustainable Finance and Social Responsibility by raising awareness of finance, technology and entrepreneurship.”

Likewise, Mr. Sok Voeun, Acting Chairman of the Microfinance Association of Cambodia, underscored that the synergy between the three associations would be a driving force behind the development of women-owned businesses, and ultimately help build resilience in the national economy. As of June 30, the loan portfolio of the Kingdom’s microfinance institutions (MFI) had soared to more than $7.730 billion, with nearly two million borrowers, he said.

“The vast majority of clients in the microfinance sector are women, who play a key role in driving economic growth in both urban and rural areas,” Voeun said.

H.E Oknha Keo Mom, President of the Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association, said that the cooperation between the three associations would help strengthening the capacity of women entrepreneurs to expand their business.

She also mentioned that some women entrepreneurs still have limited knowledge of maintaining proper and accurate accounting records. These and other issues make it difficult for financial institutions to lend and to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs, she added.

She added that under this cooperation, the two financial associations will help strengthen the capacity of women through in-depth training on specific accounting records, financial statements, accurate income and expenditure records. She added that the MoA would compel the ABC and CMA to facilitate lending for women entrepreneurs, broadening the range of products and services available to them and ensuring reasonable interest rates and convenient terms.

She highlighted that the CWEA “also encourages women entrepreneurs to properly and legally register to access credit from financial institutions and to build trust”.

The Memorandum of Agreement on the promotion of Financial Inclusion was signed on August 6, 2021 and is valid until July 31, 2023. The MoA is present in three original copies, with each party retaining one original. The three associations, together with their members, are committed to implement and share with each other as much as possible, which best reflects the true intentions and principles between the three associations.