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Microfinance in Latin America and the Caribbean

From the first experiments of providing tiny loans to poor women in the early 1970s, microfinance has grown to become a sophisticated industry. In Latin America and the Caribbean alone, some 600 microfinance institutions have lent around $12 billion to more than 10 million low-income clients.

The IDB was a pioneer in promoting microfinance in this region. Over the past two decades its Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) has underwritten the expansion of leading microfinance networks and fostered many of the innovations that enabled the development of this dynamic industry.

To increase financial inclusion, the IDB and the MIF are now helping the microfinance industry address challenges such as reaching underserved rural and marginal urban areas, expanding into “frontier markets” where it has least developed, and ensuring transparency in its operations.

Program areas


By the numbers

$12.3 billion

The total loan portfolio of the Latin American and Caribbean microfinance industry rose to $12.3 billion at the end of 2009. More >>


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Pioneers in Microfinance

    Pioneers in Microfinance

    Seven remarkable women have helped thousands of Latin American and Caribbean families create their own microenterprise
  • Pioneers in Microfinance (8:06) Video Icon

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