- Lack of economic opportunity is among the root causes of mass migration from the Northern Triangle.
- Accion is responding to a White House call to action with a new commitment to help grow micro and small businesses in the Northern Triangle region over the next three years, ultimately benefitting more than 400,000 people.
- Accion is a global leader in microfinance and fintech impact investing with 60 years of experience advancing economic development around the world.
- This support is critical for entrepreneurs and their families to survive the pandemic, begin to rebuild, and establish their financial resilience for the future.
Washington, DC, May 27, 2021 – Accion announced today a new commitment to support families and small businesses in the Northern Triangle countries – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – and help address the root causes of migration. Over the next three years, Accion, a global leader in microfinance and fintech impact investing, will provide advice, guidance and consulting services to the financial institutions that are helping micro and small business owners in the region – ultimately benefitting more than 400,000 people. In making this commitment, Accion is a founding partner in Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent call to action to support economic development in the region.
Digital and financial inclusion is a key focus area in the White House’s approach to addressing the mass migration that is being driven by a series of factors including lack of economic opportunity, poverty, violence, and climate change – all compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic – in the Northern Triangle. Nearly half of all residents in the region earn less than US $5.50 per day, and more than 300,000 jobs have been lost due to the pandemic. Accion’s commitment will create economic opportunity in the region by providing vulnerable populations who are most likely to emigrate with the digital financial tools they need to expand their farms, grow their businesses, increase their incomes, and build better lives in their home countries.
“The Call to Action is to bring these leaders and others together so that we can do what I think we can do best, which is make a commitment to get something done and then see it through, understanding that giving hope is not about just having a dream of giving hope, it is about action that results in tangible benefit that gives people a sense of what is possible for themselves and for their families,” said Vice President Kamala Harris at a White House event on Thursday.
Accion will work with financial institutions in the region who serve low-income micro and small businesses to support them in digitizing their services and improving their ability to address their clients’ needs. Accion’s work will focus on expanding vulnerable groups’ participation in the digital economy; facilitating access to financial technologies and capital for small businesses, particularly women- and indigenous-owned businesses; and ensuring that the most vulnerable and the most likely to migrate have access to financial services and education.
Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion, said: “Latin America is one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic, contributing to a series of factors including poverty and violence that is driving mass migration from the Northern Triangle to the United States. With the right support and new technology, financial institutions already reaching the people most likely to emigrate can digitize their operations to reach even more financially underserved clients, understand their needs, and create new tools that allow people to build better lives – ultimately addressing the root economic causes of migration.”
Over the next three years, Accion will work through its existing partnerships in the region to:
- Connect small and micro business owners to new markets and grow their businesses by improving their management, financial, and digital capabilities;
- Work to reduce barriers that have prevented women from accessing economic opportunities;
- Improve physical security for small businesses by supporting their transition from cash to digital payments;
- Give people greater access to financial services where they live through the expansion of branchless banking;
- Boost the productivity of small-holder farmers by providing them with new products and services;
- Enable lenders that already serve the poor to make greater use of technology to reach more clients and support them more effectively and with greater security.
Over its history, Accion has worked with more than 45 microfinance institutions, fintechs, and other financial service providers in Latin America to help them develop and deliver affordable, high-quality financial services to underserved populations.
Accion’s partners in the region include Fundación Génesis Empresarial and Compartamos S.A. (Compartamos Guatemala), both microfinance organizations serving small businesses in Guatemala; Banco Popular S.A. and Financiera Solidaria S.A. (Finsol), both commercial microfinance institutions in Honduras; and SAC Integral S.A., a microfinance institution which provides small businesses in El Salvador with innovative financial products and services.
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Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of — or poorly served by — the financial sector. For 60 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 160 partners in 55 countries. More at http://www.accion.org.