IFC to Take 18.9% Stake in ACCION Microfinance China

IFC to Invest $1 million in ACCION Microfinance China
To Promote Financial Inclusion in Inner Mongolia

Boston, MA, December 6, 2011 –ACCION® International, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, has signed an agreement with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group focused exclusively on the private sector, in which IFC will invest approximately $1 million in ACCION’s Chinese affiliate, ACCION Microfinance China (AMC).

The investment will enable ACCION to strengthen the operations of AMC, which it launched in December 2009 in Chifeng Prefecture, Inner Mongolia, to deliver financial services to the region’s working poor.

IFC’s investment of Chinese RMB 7 million represents an 18.9% equity interest in AMC.  In connection with its investment, IFC previously signed a cooperation agreement with ACCION to provide up to $1 million to finance a three-year technical assistance program for AMC.

“IFC has been a valuable ACCION partner in many of our projects around the world,” said Michael Schlein, president and CEO of ACCION.  “We’re pleased and honored to have its engagement and support as we continue to help create a microfinance industry in China, where ACCION is one of only a handful of foreign-owned organizations involved in the field.”

“We are committed to working with ACCION to help AMC expand access to finance for small businesses in Inner Mongolia and support the sustainable development of one of the least developed regions in China,” said Hyun-Chan Cho, IFC country manager for China and Mongolia. “With our financing and advice, AMC is well positioned to become a leading microfinance institution in Inner Mongolia, benefiting thousands of small entrepreneurs.”

ACCION established AMC to provide previously underserved communities of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, with access to quality financial services.  It offers financial solutions to its clients in a timely and responsible manner, adapting as needed ACCION’s expertise in various lending methodologies.

In Inner Mongolia, 40 percent of the population remains below the poverty line. While the Chinese economy has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, income inequality between the country’s coastal regions and interior provinces is escalating.

AMC’s goal is to provide working-capital and fixed-asset loans for thousands of urban and rural, small and medium-sized enterprises in Chifeng.  Loan amounts start at RMB 1,000 ($150).

ACCION is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of building a financially inclusive world by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives.  A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded as a community development organization in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil.  Over time, ACCION has helped to build 62 microfinance institutions in 31 countries on four continents.  Those institutions are currently reaching millions of clients.  In the United States, the U.S. ACCION Network is the largest microfinance lending network in the country and has served tens of thousands of clients, with over $300 million in loans.  For more information, visit www.accion.org.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector.  We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.  In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion.  For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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ACCION is a registered trademark of ACCION International.

ACCION Contact:
Bruce J. MacDonald
Senior Vice President
Tel. +1 617-616-1546

IFC Contact (in Beijing):
Jing Yu
Tel. +86 10-5860-3098