SOURCE: Opportunity International

Opportunity International

May 16, 2012 09:00 ET

Opportunity International to Expand Access to Financial Services in Tanzania

A $250,000 Contribution From Monsanto Company Will Help Empower Thousands More Tanzanians Working Their Way Out of Poverty

OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwire - May 16, 2012) - Opportunity International announced it received a $250,000 grant from Monsanto Company, an agricultural company committed to improving farm productivity and crop quality, to expand access to affordable financial services in Tanzania that will enable emerging entrepreneurs to generate more income for their families, and contribute to the economic development of their communities.

"Opportunity International is grateful to Monsanto Company for supporting its efforts to alleviate global poverty by providing impoverished people with access to life-changing financial services," said Dennis Ripley, senior vice president, International Business Development, Opportunity International. "Over the past year, Opportunity has witnessed a tremendous growth in demand for small business microloans among struggling entrepreneurs in Tanzania. We started 2011 with just over 3,000 clients in Tanzania, and at the end of the 1st quarter in 2012, we were serving more than 7,767 clients, representing a 159 percent increase."

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world with approximately 90 percent of its people living on less than $2 per day, and 60 percent living on less than $1 per day. One out of every three Tanzanians is self-employed, yet less than five percent of the population has access to formal banking and financial services.

Since 2008, Opportunity has aggressively expanded its operations to enable a greater number of entrepreneurs -- the majority of whom are women -- to secure personal savings accounts, borrow capital for their businesses, receive training to develop professional and life skills, and obtain insurance to protect their assets. "With Monsanto Company's support, Opportunity is well-positioned to empower many more of Tanzania's poorest citizens to work their way out of chronic poverty, transforming their lives, their children's futures and their communities," continued Ripley.

"At the core of Monsanto's business is a commitment to improve the lives of people around the world, which aligns closely with Opportunity International's efforts to alleviate poverty and to empower the world's working poor through access to affordable, convenient financial services," said Natalie DiNicola, vice-president of sustainable partnerships, Monsanto. "It is our hope that the partnership with Opportunity will foster entrepreneurship among Tanzanian citizens and we look forward to witnessing the impact that our contribution will have."

Monsanto is committed to supporting farmers in developing countries through initiatives aimed at boosting agricultural productivity. The company is a partner organization in the World Economic Forum and supports the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative. Monsanto's involvement in SAGCOT is a part of the company's efforts to support Tanzanian President Kikwete's Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) initiative, strengthening the country's economy through agricultural production.

About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/MonsantoNews, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows at www.monsantoblog.com, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.

About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides access to savings accounts, small business loans, insurance and training to over four million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in more than 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. For more information, visit www.opportunity.org.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:

    Cynthia Greenwood
    Opportunity International
    Email Contact
    847/404-8404

    Kathleen Manning
    Monsanto Company
    Email Contact
    314/694-4554