We invest in: Amret
Between 1998 and 2019, Cambodia’s economy was growing at an average of nearly 8% per year,1 making the country one of the world’s fastest-growing post-conflict societies. Since the onset of COVID-19, growth has stagnated. As of November 1, 2021, the country has reopened after having surpassed its COVID19 vaccination target and achieved one of Asia’s highest inoculation rates, but overall, reforms are needed if Cambodia is to sustain pro-poor growth and competitiveness.
Amret, whose name traditionally translates to ‘improvement and prosperity’ in Khmer, is a microfinance institution (MFI) that provides financial services to underserved populations in Cambodia, a country where only 22% of adults have a bank account.2 With a goal of supporting domestic entrepreneurship and encouraging local economic and community development, Amret has developed a suite of financial services to cater to these needs. Its suite of products include flexible and easily accessible loans for farmers, which includes an agriculture product that addresses crop seasonality, products for micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as deposit, saving, payment, and transfer services for rural and urban households.
Amret’s roots date back to 1991 when it was set up by a French international development‐focused NGO called GRET (Recherche et d’Echanges Technologiques) to support entrepreneurs through the provision of responsible and affordable credit. As a quasi-bank Amret serves as a one‐stop shop for clients.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amret extended a helping hand to its 120,000 group loan clients by offering a loan repayment grace period to anyone whose livelihood was affected by the pandemic. The group loan customers are predominantly rural-based, smallholder farmers, many of whom also rely on family members who work in the garment industry, which saw widespread closures due to the pandemic. For individual clients with larger financial obligations, Amret also offered repayment solutions tailored to a borrower’s unique circumstances, which typically included partial or full deferred payments for three to six months.
 World Bank Global Findex (2017) https://globalfindex.worldbank.org/sites/globalfindex/files/2018-04/2017%20Findex%20full%20report_0.pdf
The portfolio company profiled here is for educational purposes only and may not represent all of the portfolio holdings. It should not be assumed that investments in the company identified and discussed were or will be profitable. The companies profiled were selected based on their financial inclusion and impact with no reference to amount of profits or losses, realized or unrealized. Any portfolio metrics listed here have been self reported by Amret as of 6/30/2021.