The grant — the largest ever by Caterpillar to a microfinance organization — will enable Opportunity International to expand its initiatives in China and six African nations. Approximately $750,000 will be used for efforts in China, where the organization established an office in 2003. The funds are expected to create about 5,000 jobs in Anhui Province and provide capital to 25,000 people over the next three years.
The remainder of the grant will be distributed equally to programs in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, and Rwanda. In Africa the funds will assist more than 28,000 people, bringing the total expected impact of the gift to more than 53,000 workers, entrepreneurs, and their family members.
"We have a great deal of confidence in Opportunity International to effectively deliver services to help the working poor in these important two regions of the world," said Caterpillar chairman and CEO Jim Owens. "We enjoy a long history with Opportunity International, [which has] consistently demonstrated an ongoing expertise in microfinance and a track record of integrity."