SOURCE: Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation

October 19, 2009 13:51 ET

USAID Launches Partnership With Grameen Foundation With $162.5 Million Credit Guarantee

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 19, 2009) - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Grameen Foundation today announced a new private-public partnership to support local currency financing to microfinance institutions (MFIs) throughout the developing world. Alonzo Fulgham, Acting Administrator of USAID, and Alex Counts, CEO and President of Grameen Foundation, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the collaboration. To launch the partnership, USAID and Grameen Foundation recently entered into a $162.5 million joint guarantee agreement, which will help MFIs around the world gain greater access to financing and address some of the effects of tightening credit markets.

More than 150 million people around the world currently rely on microfinance, which makes financial services available to the poor for income-generating activities. The current financial crisis, however, has made it increasingly difficult for MFIs to access private capital. A credit guarantee from USAID and Grameen Foundation will support financing for MFIs and thus enable them to continue making loans to small businesses and low-income individuals in developing countries.

"We at USAID are proud of our thirty year commitment to microfinance, a commitment that we renew today," said USAID's Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham. "Increasing access to finance enables the world's poor to improve their own lives, and this partnership will enable millions more to lift themselves out of poverty."

Grameen Foundation's CEO Alex Counts said, "We are extremely pleased to join USAID in opening up new financing opportunities to microfinance institutions that will enable them to expand and serve more poor people. Grameen Foundation has been a strong advocate for providing funding to these institutions in their local currencies so that they are better insulated from global financial shocks and can also build important relationships within their local financial markets."

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