Sathapana Bank is part of the Japanese Maruhan Corporation as a subsidiary owned by its regional holding company Maruhan Investment Asia. It is also one of the oldest and largest banks in Cambodia and is committed to women's empowerment through a women's entrepreneurship strategy. Wishing to be part of this initiative in the long term, French financial institutions have been supporting this trajectory since 2020 with an initial senior credit facility of USD 50 million, half of which was dedicated to women entrepreneurship. They are renewing their support today with this new 30 million USD loan.
One third of this amount - USD 10 million - is earmarked for local SMEs, which are Sathapana Bank's priority clients. Sathapana Bank already finances SMEs for nearly 78% of its loan portfolio in a country where, at the end of the 2010 decade, SMEs and VSEs represented 99% of businesses and 70% of local employment, while contributing 60% of GDP. Aware of this, Sathapana Bank has developed, with the support of Finnfund, a tailor-made offer adapted to this clientele.
Proparco wishes to go even further by completing it with an offer specifically dedicated to women entrepreneurs. Several milestones have been reached since 2020 such as the "Women in Business" (WIB) initiative targeting women entrepreneurs in Cambodia, with quarterly "Sathapana Sathapanerk" conferences, "Women Digital Entrepreneurship" and "I'm Financially Literate" executive training programs aiming at developing financial knowledge, among others.
Supporting women entrepreneurs
The stakes are high in Cambodia where women own or play a major role in more than 60% of Cambodian businesses (formal or informal): women entrepreneurs are thus a major force in the country's productive fabric. However, these businesses managed or owned by women still have very limited access to banking products and services.
This is the essence of the partnership between AFD and Proparco, as two thirds of the new senior loan, i.e. USD 20 million, will be used exclusively on the basis of the 2X Challenge initiative,
which aims to promote women's economic empowerment and gender equality in developing countries. In addition, Sathapana Bank has also obtained a Client Protection Principles (CPP) certification on responsible finance from MCRIL in December 2021, which it is committed to maintaining throughout the next few years.
For its part, AFD Group has been involved with the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) since 2012 and is now a historical actor in the commitment to strengthen the principles of responsible finance in Cambodia. The Group is committed to financing only certified financial institutions/MFIs that meet the highest standards of client protection.
“With this new loan, Proparco is happy to be renewing its partnership with Sathapana. The bank plays a key role in providing financial support and training to SMEs, and especially women-owned businesses, in Cambodia,” said Gonzague Monreal, head of Financial Institutions department at Proparco.
“At Sathapana Bank, we are proud to support women entrepreneurs by providing them access to finance, training and skills development—all through our Women In Business (WIB) initiative. This additional credit line helps us to open up greater economic opportunities for women in business and continue in building an inclusive economy for Cambodia. The continuous support from Proparco is testament to our effort and focus in empowering women in business and for that, we are delighted and honored,” says Kai Jin Fung, Chief Executive Officer, Sathapana Bank.
Floriane Balac / firstname.lastname@example.org