Although only the third quarter of 2020, it has been a busy year so far for Amret Microfinance Institution Plc, as one of Cambodia’s leading financial institutions continues to demonstrate its commitment to assisting people in the Kingdom across a wide range of sectors. As well as aiding those most vulnerable to the economic effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, the microfinance institution is helping empower rural farmers and women in business.
CEO Dos Dinn said Amret would pay particular attention to those individual borrowers in the business sectors identified by the National Bank of Cambodia as most vulnerable to the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – tourism, garment manufacturing, construction and transport, as well as agriculture.
Amret says it is offering a helping hand to its customers by offering a loan repayment grace period or loan renewals to 120,000 group loan clients whose livelihoods have been affected by the unprecedented situation. Amret has also offered grace periods to individual clients whose businesses and jobs have been affected, now representing more than 10 per cent of its loan portfolio.
“As a socially responsible institution, Amret sincerely hopes that the implementation of this grace period or loan renewals will support our clients and their families through these difficult economic circumstances brought on by the global Covid-19 crisis, ” Dinn said.
July saw Amret and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) team up to use digital technology to empower rural farmers. Together they rolled out the Agriculture Market Mobile App – known as the CAMAgriMarket app – which brings farmers, buyers, sellers and all other stakeholders together on a common digital platform to better promote agri-business and make agriculture a more sustainable and lucrative sector.
“Both Amret and MAFF share a common vision and the obligation to help empower the Kingdom’s farming communities with the financial and non-financial services needed to improve their livelihoods and household incomes through better productivity. “The CAMAgriMarket app is a great portal to serve the agricultural sector, and we believe this has the huge potential to benefit the agricultural community nationwide,” said Amret chief commercial officer Alan Wee.
Amret is also making a difference in education, with Wee saying that helping children fulfil their dreams was the key motivation behind the “Kmeng Chhlat Account”.
Amret launched the innovative Kmeng Chhlat Account in August as part of its campaign to encourage parents to start saving early for their children’s future higher education needs.
“A university education can be very expensive. Depending on the institution and course, financing a four-year degree university education can be a burden for most families. Amret has developed the Kmeng Chhlat Account to address this.
“We hope this savings plan will help parents finance their children’s higher education when they are ready to take this step. We also hope children will be inspired to earn a university degree as the first step towards a successful professional career.
“Everything is possible if you plan ahead and work hard towards achieving your goals, and Kmeng Chhlat embodies this spirit perfectly,” Wee said. Amret has also been recognised with the “2020 Leading Financial Institution for Empowering Women in Business in Cambodia” award from Global Finance Magazine.
“It is indeed an honour for Amret to be recognised as the ‘Leading Financial Institution for Empowering Women in Business in Cambodia’. Amret, since its early years, has always recognised the importance of women playing a pivotal role in the economic and social development of families in Cambodia.
“More than 90 per cent of our clients during our formative years in the early 1990s were women as we were offering only small group loans in villages and women trusted us first. Today, 68 per cent of our borrowers are women across all segments and in all types of business.
“Amret will continue to provide affordable financial solutions to empower women, which will eventually not only help in creating jobs, but also benefit communities. This will in turn help to lift the living standards of communities and promote women entrepreneurship,” said Amret executive director Estelle Darie-Rousseaux.