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Ja to participate in microfinance project

Published:Wednesday | September 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM
One of Jamaica's microfinance institutions. - File

Microfinance institutions from Jamaica and six other countries are to participate in the second phase of the regional microfinance capacity building project for the English-speaking Caribbean (Carib-Cap 11), the Washington-based Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) announced Monday.

It said that institutions from The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago will participate in the programme, aimed at helping the region develop its microfinance industry.

The project, to be launched on September 30 during the Caribbean Microfinance Forum IV in Barbados, is a joint effort by MIF, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Commission and Citi Foundation.

Carib-Cap II, a US$2.7-million technical cooperation programme, will provide individualised capacity-building training to 15 microfinance institutions in the region, building on Carib-Cap I successes in new client outreach and improved financial performance.

unique growth challenges

The financiers said the programme tackles the unique growth challenges faced by microfinance institutions in the English-speaking Caribbean, by providing training in areas including management, marketing, product design and financial tools.

In the first phase, the US$3 million Carib-Cap I programme provided non-reimbursable financing for training, product development and strengthening of the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance, a network of microfinance institutions established to develop a business ecosystem that expands lending to low-income enterprises.

They said that during the first year, client outreach of participating institutions rose by 14 per cent and their portfolio-at-risk was nearly cut in half, dropping from 27 to 13.7 per cent.