Monday, August 29, 2011

Thriving microfinance sector strengthens Colombia’s economy

Andrew Berger in TriplePundit: Bakeries, food and clothing vendors, stalls, stands and restaurants, consumer electronics shops, barber and tailor shops, taxi and bus drivers, they’re all beneficiaries of a thriving micro-finance industry in Colombia, one of any number of nations where finding, or creating, employment is difficult at best, and obtaining steady, well-paid work even more so.

Nearly 50% of Colombia’s 46 million citizens live below the poverty line. Micro-finance organizations such as Colombians Supporting Colombians (CAC) are giving entrepreneurs a leg up by providing micro-loans and other banking services that conventional banks are unwilling to offer. Some $3.5 billion in micro-credit was disbursed in 2010 to more than 2 million borrowers.

There are more than 1.2 million so-called micro-enterprises doing business in Colombia, along with small businesses making up an astonishing 96% of all companies in the country and employing 50% of national employment, according to a Vision Economica report. ...

Micro- and small businesses “generally do not meet the requirements set by commercial banks, which do not lend money to people with limited economic resources either, due to the risk of default,” Jorge Varón, manager of the development credit fund of Colombians Supporting Colombians (CAC) program, told Helda Martinez of the InterPress News Service...

An open-air market in Tacueyo, Colomgia, shot by Juan Sebastián Ramírez Navas, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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