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ACCION Investments in Microfinance, SPC Begins Operations Equity Investment for Financial Institutions Serving the Poor


Rob Wright,
IFC Washington DC

Telephone: 202-473-7997

Email:
rwright@ifc.org


Washington, DC, March 17, 2003ACCION Investments in Microfinance, SPC (“ACCION Investments”), a new investment company with an initial capitalization of $18 million, began operations on Feb. 28, 2003. Focusing on Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, ACCION investments will provide equity and quasi-equity capital to institutions specializing in microfinance, the provision of financial services to poor households.  Investors include IFC, other international financial institutions, private investors from both sides of the Atlantic, and ACCION International, the company’s sponsor.  

Institutional investors in the new company are IFC, the Inter-American Development Bank, KfW of Germany, ACCION International, FMO of the Netherlands, the Belgian Investment Company and The Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd. Private investors are Andromeda Fund, a member of COFRA Holdings AG, Switzerland, and the U.S.-based Arthur Rock 2000 Fund.


“IFC is delighted to join ACCION’s initiative to fuel the growth of financial institutions serving the poor,” said Peter Woicke, executive vice president of IFC.  “Our participation in this company is an expression of the priority the World Bank Group places on bringing its resources to initiatives that have a direct, lasting impact on reducing poverty.”  


The board of directors of ACCION Investments is composed of representatives of the six largest shareholders and is chaired by Marķa Otero, president and CEO of ACCION International.  She noted, “ACCION Investments can lead the way in demonstrating the power of socially-conscious investment to drive social change, particularly where that investment incorporates the poor into the financial systems of their countries.”


“ACCION Investments provides a smart way for us to be involved in microfinance and to do well while also doing good,” said Stephen R.M. Brenninkmeijer, CEO of Andromeda Fund B.V., a private investor in the company.


ACCION Investments is a private offshore segregated portfolio company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.  Gateway ACCION International Manager (GAIM), a wholly owned, Boston-based subsidiary of ACCION International, will serve as company manager under the leadership of Managing Director Enrique Ferraro. In addition to its $3 million investment, IFC has also provided a $500,000 grant to a parallel technical assistance facility that will be administered by GAIM.


The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding in 1956 through FY02, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.