|AIG Launches Multimillion Dollar Global Microfinance Innovation Program with ACCION|
"This is very exciting... we have a substantial increase in the base of people all across of the world eligible for micro finance and we should be grateful to AIG and ACCION for their role in doing that."
- President William J. Clinton, September 21, 2006
From left: Martin J. Sullivan, AIG President and CEO; former President William J. Clinton; Maria Otero, ACCION President and CEO
AIG's Commitment Propels Microfinance to Next Stage of Global Poverty Alleviation; Will Create Faster Access to New Financial Services for Poor People
BOSTON, Mass., September 22, 2006 -- American International Group, Inc. (AIG) announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) a $5.25 million, three-year partnership with ACCION International that will help ACCION deliver financial services and literacy programs to three million entrepreneurial poor in 33 countries, dramatically expanding the reach and sustainability of microfinance in emerging markets.
AIG's contribution will assist ACCION in developing a range of dynamic new initiatives and products to improve the quality, impact and reach of microfinance around the globe. ACCION innovations will extend from remittances and savings products to micro-insurance and housing loans, to include a range of products that meet the financial services needs of poor entrepreneurs, such as seamstresses, market vendors, bakers and weavers who work their way out of poverty through microfinance.
AIG's contribution will include support for the "AIG Fund for Microfinance Innovation," run by ACCION; backing for ACCION financial literacy programs; and assistance with ACCION's exploratory program work in China, where AIG was founded, in 1919.
"AIG has been following the microfinance industry for more than a decade. The time is right for microfinance to move beyond credit to provide innovative products and services tailored to the needs of poor households," said Martin Sullivan, AIG president and CEO. "Building on our proud history of investment in underserved markets, AIG's partnership with ACCION will increase the microfinance industry's capacity to reach scale, helping millions of the world's working poor lift themselves out of poverty."
Microfinance has had a significant impact since its inception, with nearly 50 million people worldwide improving their lives through microcredit - but it is estimated that nearly a billion could benefit from access to financial services. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) today are seeking to move beyond traditional credit products, expanding the range of products they can offer the working poor, and working to achieve scale to meet the enormous demand for such services. MFIs are increasingly collaborating with corporate partners whose philanthropic resources and strategic expertise can greatly facilitate product development, investment, and effective, new distribution systems, in order to achieve genuine scalability and sustainability.
"AIG's generous contribution will help us to significantly accelerate innovation in microfinance, allowing us to expand development of new microfinance programs and products around the globe," said María Otero, president and CEO of ACCION. "This important step in AIG's corporate philanthropy will help us reach millions more of the working poor with the tools they need to improve their lives and those of their families."
About ACCION International
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