Over the weekend, the White House announced a new $100 million microfinance growth fund for the western hemisphere:
The global credit crisis is having a significant and harmful impact on the availability of finance for micro and small businesses that provide a majority of the jobs in the Hemisphere. This is one of the factors jeopardizing recent hard won gains in reducing poverty. While the region has a wealth of microfinance institutions, these lenders are now confronting a serious shortage of private finance from both international and local sources. As the supply of lending is shrinking, the demand for smaller loans is expanding as job loss escalates and the newly unemployed are falling back on micro and small enterprises as their sole source of income.
Today the President announced a new partnership of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) for the purpose of launching a new Microfinance Growth Fund for the Western Hemisphere. The fund will provide stable medium and longer-term sources of finance to microfinance institutions and microfinance investment vehicles to help rebuild their capacity to lend during this difficult period and to increase the supply of finance for micro and small businesses as recovery takes hold.
Read the full press release here.