Ecuador will expand access to microcredit, particularly among low-income women, through a $50 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty.
The National Program for Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Solidarity (PNFPEES) will be the executing agency for the program, which will contribute to its strategy for fostering economic inclusion with particular emphasis on financing for women entrepreneurs.
“We expect that by 2015 the program will provide loans to approximately 25,000 microentrepreneurs,” said Rosa Matilde Guerrero, IDB specialist.“We also anticipate that these credits will lead to the creation of at least 5,000 new jobs over the next four years.”
The program is intended to result in an 60 percent increase in credit available in districts with high levels of poverty, and at least 54 percent of the credit operations will benefit women microentrepreneurs.
Ecuador has seen a significant expansion in microfinance over the past eight years.The total loan portfolio of microfinance institutions has increased from $73.2 million to nearly $2.5 billion, an average annual growth of 405 percent.In addition, the total number of entrepreneurs served by this sector has expanded at an annual average of 232 percent over the same period, rising from about 60,000 to more than one million customers.