Washington, D.C., April 6, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and BBVA Microfinance Foundation have
signed an agreement to participate jointly in equity investments in microfinance
institutions throughout Latin America. The investments will help local
microfinance institutions strengthen their capital base and adopt best
practices, enabling them to grow and diversify their product offerings.
In Latin America, microenterprises account
for 54 percent of total employment, but only about 15 percent of them have
access to formal sources of finance. Through this initiative, IFC and BBVA
Microfinance Foundation will selectively invest in emerging microfinance
institutions that focus on increasing access to finance for people at the
bottom of the economic pyramid.
"This joint initiative is important
for developing the microfinance sector in Latin America. Making formal
sources of financing more accessible to people who have not had this opportunity
before will enable them to establish sustainable businesses that can help
improve their quality of life," said Manuel Méndez del Río, CEO of
BBVA Microfinance Foundation.
Lars Thunell, IFC’s Executive Vice
President and CEO, said, “Our partnership with BBVA Microfinance Foundation
reflects IFC's microfinance strategy for Latin America. It will allow
us to promote access to finance to entrepreneurs in underserved areas.”
James Scriven, IFC Director for Global
Financial Markets for Latin America and Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa,
said, “We will combine the foundation’s deep understanding of the region’s
retail banking and its focus on implementing a first-rate technological
platform with our reach and leadership in the microfinance sector. This
will offer investee companies an extensive range of tailored financial
products, guidance on best practice in areas such as governance, and access
to advanced technologies."
In Latin America and the Caribbean,
IFC is working to expand access to high-quality financial services for
underserved people, maximizing development impact and improving institutional
efficiency. IFC has supported the creation or development of 24 microfinance
institutions, with a cumulative investment of $213 million. In 2006, 17
microfinance clients surveyed in the region disbursed 5.9 million loans
totaling $4.9 billion.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have
the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC
committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
About BBVA Microfinance Foundation
The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is
a non- profit institution whose mandate is to promote access to credit
and financial services amongst people with low incomes, focusing especially
on those socially and economically disadvantaged areas. The foundation’s
mid-term goal is to consolidate its position as one of the largest microfinance
networks both in Latin America and worldwide.