IDB fund provides $4m grant for tech-based microfinance programme

IDB fund provides $4m grant for tech-based microfinance programme

The Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is putting up $3.95 million to help pay for a programme promoting the use of technology by microfinance.

The scheme, which will cost a total of $10 million, aims to improve access to financial services in Latin America and the Caribbean through innovative technology.

It will consist of individual projects designed and implemented by mocrofinance institutions in the region.

Potential participants are being called on to submit proposals in a series of rounds, the first of which is scheduled for early next year. Proposals will be chosen based on "innovation and their capacity to achieve measurable results".

Selected institutions will then get support to develop a technology strategy and a project proposal. A second selection process will then determine which of the ideas will be implemented.

An online community portal is being set up to let participating institutions present and discuss ideas, submit project proposal and share their experiences on carrying out the programme.

The IDB says it wants the overall programme to provide first-time access to credit to 250,000 microentrepreneurs or low-income individuals.

Julie Katzman, general manager, MIF, says: "Technology can play a crucial role in extending the reach of financial services in the region. Technologies such as mobile banking or simpler banking software applications can help reduce costs and reach more people."

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