The Citi Foundation has announced a three-year, $11.2 million program in partnership with the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network in Washington, D.C., to advance the integration of microfinance into the mainstream economies of developing countries.
The Citi Network Strengthening Program will work to expand the capacity of twelve major microfinance networks and their members, enabling them to develop products and services that meet the needs of their clients while enhancing the industry's infrastructure, introducing higher standards of management and governance, and promoting the vital role of microfinance in providing the poor with access to financial services. The program will include a comprehensive assessment of the networks' capacity to meet the needs of their members, an in-depth report on the microfinance industry in participating countries or regions, and strategic, business, and implementation plans.
The participating networks are the Banking With the Poor Network (Asia Pacific), the China Association for Microfinance, the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Sa-Dhan (India), the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda, the Microfinance Centre for Central & Eastern Europe & New Independent States, the Pakistan Microfinance Network, the Russian Microfinance Center, Sanabel (Middle East), ProDesarrollo (Mexico), Red Financiera Rural (Ecuador), and REDCAMIF (Central America).
"The microfinance industry currently serves approximately 113 million poor people; however, there are still 1.7 billion individuals earning less than $2 per day," said Citi Foundation president and CEO Pam Flaherty. "Reaching scale and meeting client demand is currently one of the greatest challenges facing microfinance institutions."