It is the third local currency debt fund by Bolivian Investment Management (BIM), a seasoned microfinance investor headquartered in La Paz. BIM is building on the experience gained in its two previous funds, Locfund I (2007) and Locfund II (2013), and seeks to continue serving microfinance institutions in the LAC region by offering local currency loans, other financial products and technical assistance. Locfund Next will focus on supporting MFIs in their digital transformation which will increase their outreach and therefore foster financial inclusion in the region. SIFEM’s investment consists of a senior loan (USD 6m) and equity (USD 4m) and has been critical for Locfund Next to reach its minimum equity amount at the first closing.
The investment will contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 9 (building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation) and 10 (reducing inequality), but will also empower women and support gender equality (SDG 5) by financing women-led businesses, as more than 50 per cent of Locfund Next’s end beneficiaries are expected to be women.