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    ACCION Backs Microfinance Equity Funds in India and Africa

    ACCION Gateway Microfinance Investment Vehicles Fund
    Invests in Lok Capital and AfriCap
     

    Boston, MA, November 13, 2007 – ACCION® International, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced that its Gateway Microfinance Investment Vehicles Fund (GMIV) has invested in Lok Capital, LLC and has participated in the recapitalization of AfriCap Microfinance Investment Company, Ltd., both Mauritius-based investment companies.

    ACCION’s GMIV participates in investment vehicles in order to support the global microfinance industry and to promote the development of world-class microfinance investment managers. ACCION’s involvement in both Lok Capital and AfriCap includes a governance presence on the board of directors of both companies.

    ACCION’s investment in Lok Capital, a fund that pioneers equity investments in Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs), will bring the firm’s total resources to $14.5 million.  Lok Advisory Services (LAS), a team of professionals based in India, will act as investment advisors to the fund.  MFIs that receive equity investment from Lok also benefit from capacity-building consulting from technical assistance providers, including ACCION.

    ACCION has also recently participated in the recapitalization of the AfriCap Microfinance Investment Company, an investment fund founded by ACCION, Canadian microfinance organization Calmeadow, and others. AfriCap, the first African private equity fund dedicated to the microfinance industry, has established a solid track record, including two exits with an average internal rate of return in excess of 30%; participation in the listing of Equity Bank Limited, the first IPO of a MFI in Africa; transformation into a permanent capital investment company; and an increase in capital to $50M in its second round of investment.

    “Both Lok Capital and AfriCap are effective value-added investors in MFIs, facilitating new levels of outreach, commercial viability and corporate governance,” said Lauren Burnhill, senior vice president of ACCION’s Financial Markets and Services department. “These investments are an ideal fit for ACCION, which establishes and strengthens the connection between the needs of the microfinance industry and the resources of the capital markets.” 

    About Lok Capital
    The Lok Capital Group is an initiative that delivers equity capital and capacity-building support to Indian Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). This socially responsible, innovative effort facilitates the delivery of affordable financial services, primarily to low-income households in India, in a commercially viable and sustainable manner.

    About AfriCap
    AfriCap Microfinance Fund was established in 2001 as the first African private equity fund dedicated to the microfinance industry. At inception, the fund was sponsored by development finance organizations and microfinance NGOs, motivated by two main objectives.  Firstly, the sponsors aimed to create a demonstration model for private financing of the microfinance industry.  Secondly, by providing equity capital, active governance and capacity building to well managed market leaders, the fund would have a positive impact on financial deepening, innovation and best practicesin Africa.

    About ACCION International
    ACCION International is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need—microenterprise loans, business training, and other financial services—to work their way out of poverty. A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. ACCION International’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 25 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, and in the U.S. In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 14 million loans totaling more than $9.4 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid.  Selected for the fourth consecutive year for its pioneering approaches to poverty alleviation, ACCION is among 43 organizations awarded the 2007 Social Capitalist Award by Fast Company magazine, and has been awarded Charity Navigator’s highest rating—four stars—for  efficiency and sound fiscal management. For more information, visit www.accion.org.

    ACCION® is a registered trademark of ACCION International.

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    Media contact:
    Bruce MacDonald
    Vice President, Communications
    ACCION International
    Tel: +1-617-616-1546
    bmacdonald@accion.org