Three associations have entered into a partnership to boost financial inclusion and raise awareness about tools, products and services among women entrepreneurs.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to this end on August 6 by Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) president In Channy, Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) acting chairman Sok Voeun and Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) president Keo Mom.

Designed to complement the National Strategy for Financial Inclusiveness 2019-2025, the MoU sets out to promote innovative credit products and improve the financial ecological system.

The deal aims to guide cooperation between the three associations and encourage additional efforts, with a focus on organising events, joint workshops and training that enhance financial knowledge and inclusion among women entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambodia.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, ABC’s Channy said the MoU would be a testament to the efforts between the three associations to promote and mainstream financial literacy.

He added that the three parties would also work together on training and development for female entrepreneur members that covers all aspects of banking; raise public financial knowledge and awareness of products; and build a nuanced understanding of financial access among women entrepreneurs and SMEs.

“Under the cooperation, the three associations will work together to disseminate and enhance gender equality, green loans, sustainable finance and social responsibility by raising awareness of finance, technology and entrepreneurship,” Channy said.

CMA’s Voeun 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.

CWEA’s Mom stressed that the partnership between the three associations would strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs and help expand their businesses.

She noted that a sizeable portion of women entrepreneurs still have limited knowledge of maintaining proper and accurate accounting records. These and other such issues make it difficult for financial institutions to lend to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs, she claimed.

“Under this cooperation, the two financial associations will help strengthen the capacity of women through training and in-depth understanding of specific topics such as accurate accounting records, financial statements, and income and expenditure records,” she said.

She added that the MoU 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”.