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Grameen Foundation Engineers More Than $100 Million in Local Currency Financing for Microfinance in Ten Countries

Submitted by: Grameen Foundation USA

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Dec 12, 2007 – 10:00 AM EST


Growth Guarantee Program Secures Local Currency Loans and Spares Microfinance Institutions Foreign Exchange Risk

Dec. 12 /CSRwire/ - WASHINGTON, D.C. - December 12, 2007 - Grameen Foundation, a leader in microfinance, today announced that its Growth Guarantee program has crossed an important milestone in its drive to foster increased local currency financing for microfinance institutions. With the recent closing of two innovative transactions for Kashf Foundation of Pakistan, the program has now generated $112.6 million in financing for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in ten countries through the placement of $20.5 million in guarantees. This funding will generate an estimated 500,000 loans to micro-entrepreneurs in Bolivia, Egypt, India, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, and Tunisia. In the Arab World, the Growth Guarantees program is managed in collaboration with Grameen-Jameel Pan-Arab Microfinance, Ltd, a social business enterprise established by Grameen Foundation and the Abdul Latif Jameel Group.

Launched in late 2005, the Grameen Foundation Growth Guarantee program is one of the one of the microfinance industry's largest financing efforts dedicated to ensuring adequate liquidity for fast-growing MFIs exclusively in their local currencies. By focusing solely on local currency loans, the program is building important linkages between local commercial banks and MFIs and also helps the MFIs to avoid the foreign exchange risk inherent with hard currency loans.

"Local financial markets have a critical role to play in fuelling the growth of microfinance institutions worldwide, and Kashf Foundation and its dynamic leader Roshaneh Zafar are leading the way towards realizing this vision in Pakistan," said Alex Counts, president of Grameen Foundation. "As the sector matures, we will continue using our Growth Guarantee program and other financial tools to spur even more innovative transactions and opportunities for MFIs."

The two transactions for Kashf Foundation are among the largest financings backed by Grameen Foundation and will collectively leverage $20 million (1.2 billion Pakistani rupees) backed by $5 million in guarantees. Both transactions also mark significant achievements for the Pakistani microfinance industry. The first is a $3 million guarantee that supported a $12 million private debt placement subscribed by local Pakistani institutional investors and banks, many of which were new to microfinance, and was arranged by Habib Bank Ltd. The second is a $2 million partial guarantee that helped to support an $8 million syndicated loan facility that was arranged by Citibank Pakistan with ABN Amro, Habib Bank Ltd and MCB as the syndicate banks.

"Building a financial system that meets the needs of the majority requires financial mainstreaming of MFIs within local capital markets," said Roshaneh Zafar, president of Kashf Foundation. "Credit enhancement tools like Grameen Foundation's Growth Guarantee can play a significant role in changing the way commercial banks view MFIs, as demonstrated in the Kashf Foundation case."

About Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation is a global non-profit organization that combines microfinance, technology, and innovation to empower the world's poorest people to escape poverty. It has established a global network of partners in 25 countries that has impacted an estimated 20 million lives in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East. Grameen Foundation was founded by Alex Counts, who began his work in microfinance with Grameen Bank founder, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Dr. Yunus is a founding and current member of Grameen Foundation's board of directors. For more information on Grameen Foundation, please visit www.grameenfoundation.org.

About Kashf Foundation

The Kashf Foundation was founded by Roshaneh Zafar in 1996 as the first specialized MFI in Pakistan to provide microfinance services to the women in rural/sub-urban localities, after being inspired by Grameen Bank’s success in Bangladesh. Today Kashf is one of the largest players in the MF industry in Pakistan. Over the last 10 years, KF's partners have included well recognized entities in the microfinance sector including the Grameen Foundation, DFID, Acumen Fund, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and the Grameen Bank. Additional information may be found at www.kashf.org.

For more information, please contact:

Liselle Yorke Grameen Foundation
Phone: 202-628-3560, ext. 128


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