Global Partnerships (GP) has announced the creation of an $8.5 million microfinance investment fund to make small loans more readily available to people living in poverty in Latin America. The Microfinance Fund 2006 will leverage philanthropic giving with private capital, including investments worth over $8.2 million from individuals and groups.
These include the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, Seattle University, ResponsAbility Global Microfinance Fund, and Partners for the Common Good. The fund will leverage other philanthropic resources at a 32 to 1 ratio, bringing microfinance institutions significantly more funding than would otherwise have been available to them.
The fund is designed to provide GP’s MFI partners with funding they can use for long periods of time with few restrictions, allowing them to make long-term investments in organizational efficiency and client outreach. The Fund will also extend GP’s reach, beyond its current focus on Central America, to include Bolivia and Peru and will allow the organization to serve, through its local partners, 480,000 borrowers in the six countries.
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Latin America ‘most unequal region’ says WEF report
A report by the World Economic Forum claims that Latin America is the ‘most unequal region in the world’, with 25 per cent of its population living on less than $2 per day despite average growth rates of more than 4 per cent over the past three years. Economic inequality and social marginalization are the greatest risks facing the region, says the report, Latin America@risk, adding that although democracy and political stability remain at historically high levels across the region, ‘pockets of populist/anti-globalist storm clouds threaten to spread throughout the highly interdependent region.’ It calls for greater political will to tackle vested interests, adding that the region’s business community has the capacity to become a key catalyst for change.
World Bank Press Review, 19 April 2007