The US International Development Financial Corporation (DFC) loaned more than $5 million in 2020 to build a new factory and purchase new equipment for a woman-owned wool and cashmere business in Mongolia. Ariunaa Byambakhuu founded Goyol Cashmere in 2005 and now oversees a staff of over 100 employees, more than 75% of whom are women. The company aimed to build a new factory in 2020 to expand its production and provide more women with jobs. With financial support from the DFC, the company was able to build the facility, create more jobs for women, and increase its purchase of raw cashmere and wool from local herders.
By investing in women-owned businesses like Goyol Cashmere, the DFC not only supports female entrepreneurs but also promotes the diversification of the Mongolian economy. The project has had a positive developmental impact on Mongolia’s agricultural value chain by increasing the country’s capacity to produce finished cashmere products for export and domestic use. The loan has enabled Goyol Cashmere to boost production and capture more than 25% of the domestic market for finished cashmere products. The DFC’s assistance has also helped to provide a steadier stream of income for the local herders from whom the company sources raw cashmere. The support aligns with one of the core objectives of the project in Mongolia to aid local communities by building a stable procurement chain and providing technical assistance to improve the quality of cashmere products.
The project exemplifies the tangible progress being made to promote small- and medium-sized enterprises owned by women in Mongolia with DFC support. It may also be seen as a success for Representative Dina Titus (NV-1), who sponsored H.Res. 1100, which highlights the critical US-Mongolia partnership and passed out of the House in December 2020. Specifically, the resolution celebrates the flourishing relations between the two countries and reaffirms their mutual intent to deepen these ties. It also encourages expanded DFC support for private sector-led growth and women’s entrepreneurship in Mongolia, with the new tools provided under the BUILD Act of 2018. The bill enabled women entrepreneurs like Ariunaa Byambakhuu to create more jobs for women and generate sustainable income sources for their local communities.
In 2018, the DFC launched the 2X Women’s Initiative with a focus on financially empowering women across the world, especially in regions in which women face challenges in attaining economic success. By reducing this gender gap, world GDP could increase by 26%. The DFC initiative has provided $3 billion in investment towards these projects so far. The congressional budget for FY 2021 allocated $700 million for the DFC, reaffirming the bipartisan support for the organization’s goal of promoting developmental projects that empower women and create local jobs in low- and middle-income countries.
Sayan Dochinkhuu is a participant in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center in Washington. He is a graduate student at Texas A&M University's Bush School of Government and Public Service studying International Affairs, with a concentration in US foreign policy in East Asia and International Development.