U.S. International Development Finance Corporation reaffirms commitment with $30 Million Loan to Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB) to Support Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs

* DFC CEO Scott Nathan reiterates the need to support women entrepreneurs, sustainable financing, and micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

* Agreement signed by CEO Nathan strengthens CDB’s status as a responsible corporate citizen.

November 09th 2023, Colombo, Sri Lanka: During U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Scott Nathan’s trip to Colombo November 7-8, he announced $30 million in DFC financing to Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB) to support women entrepreneurs, sustainable financing, and micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The reaffirmation of the commitment was signed in a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy by CEO Nathan on behalf of DFC and by Managing Director/CEO Mahesh Nanayakkara on behalf of CDB. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung and USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka Gabriel Grau were also present, highlighting the United States’ continued dedication to fostering economic growth and empowerment in Sri Lanka.

For the first time, CDB has received a funding facility of this significant value, reaffirming the organization’s robust commitment to corporate stewardship. Despite Sri Lanka’s economic challenges, this loan exemplifies the confidence placed in CDB by funding agencies and recognizes the company’s contributions to stability, governance, and sustainability. Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP was the advisor and structuring agent for this transaction.

“DFC provides inclusive, sustainable financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs. CDB is a great partner and, through our support, will enhance energy security and promote climate resiliency in Sri Lanka,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan.

“The United States is dedicated to advancing Sri Lanka’s economic growth by supporting local entrepreneurs, a key driver for economic growth,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung. “DFC’s new investment in Citizens Development Business Finance, in partnership with USAID, will directly benefit small and medium-sized businesses across the island, allowing Sri Lankan entrepreneurs access to capital that can help to transform their ideas into successful business growth and, in the long term, a more stable economy for the country.”

“CDB’s broad agenda for using these loan proceeds will help realize multiple UN sustainable development goals in Sri Lanka. But most importantly, the funding will empower women entrepreneurs and MSMEs, making sustainable economic growth a local reality that improves gender equality and helps build strong, resilient communities. USAID is proud to be a partner in CDB’s investment to strengthen the green economy and uplift women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka,” said USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka Gabriel Grau.

The loan, facilitated by USAID, will strengthen CDB’s support for urban funding and rural lending on a multiplicity of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project underscores the importance of women’s empowerment and gender equality and focuses on reducing hurdles for building sustainable communities through strengthening MSMEs, with a focus on “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” SDGs.

Noting CDB’s consistent recognition through awards from the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for corporate stewardship and sustainability, Nanayakkara emphasized that DFC funding will prioritize women’s empowerment as a key focus area. “We continue to strengthen our overarching ethos of spurring women entrepreneurs because they play a prominent role in the global climate action conversation. By extending financial services including facilities for startups, expanding existing ventures, and reinvesting returns to drive further development of small businesses on a green platform, we continue to establish our presence not just as a responsible service provider in the financial services sector, but also as a responsible corporate citizen promoting financial inclusion across the country.”

CDB will also focus on green energy projects, including rooftop solar, electric and hybrid vehicles, and the conversion of vehicles into electric vehicles (EVs) in a bid to reduce the national carbon footprint. This focus demonstrates CDB’s commitment to the UN’s clean energy SDG and spotlights the need for best practices in energy management. CDB is fully committed to its sustainability agenda and aims to become a net zero company by 2030.

Nanayakkara added that while the terms and conditions are favorable especially given the current macroeconomic challenges, “The facility adds significant fillip to CDB’s financial strength and boosts the country’s eco system in attracting impact funding. Being a corporate leader, it is our responsibility to look at the macro picture and work towards ensuring our actions will benefit the country and its people overall.”

About DFC
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, and small business and financial services. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

USAID is the U.S. Government’s development arm and is one of the world’s premier international development agencies. USAID has been working in Sri Lanka for more than six decades, promoting a healthy, educated, and employed population. The U.S. Government has provided more than 600 billion LKR ($2 billion) since 1956 as development and humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. To find out more about USAID’s work, please visit usaid.gov/sri-lanka and follow @USAIDSriLanka.