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Multiple Regions

MICROVEST: PROVIDING FINANCIAL SERVICES TO UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES

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Regions: Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East

Sector: Microfinance Lending

Challenge: Throughout the developing world, local entrepreneurs have difficulty accessing the financial services that are needed to start or expand a business. Traditional markets often overlook small businesses, making it harder and more expensive for poor people to gain access to tailored financial services that could bridge the gap of their unsteady income stream.

Approach: Since 2009, OPIC has committed over $96 million in financing and insurance to MicroVest, supporting lending to microfinance institutions in 66 countries around the globe, including 6 countries in Africa. MicroVest provides financing to banks, non-bank financial intermediaries, and non-governmental organizations to support lending to entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses in developing markets. The company is committed to sustainable and ethical lending practices and uses a Social Impact Scoring model to conduct due diligence on potential investees.   

Impact: OPIC financing has helped MicroVest expand financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa through its investment vehicle, the Access Africa Fund. The Access Africa Fund has provided debt to numerous microfinance institutions (MFIs) and small and medium enterprise banks in countries like Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania. Although these local MFIs have struggled to obtain financing through traditional sources, OPIC support now allows them to lend effectively while running a sustainable business.

With OPIC financing and insurance, MicroVest has made financial services accessible to underserved communities and has enhanced the financial sectors of developing countries worldwide.

See also: How Microvest combines a social and commercial approach to impact investing.

 

This project was profiled in 2016