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Press registration now open for Foromic in San José, Costa Rica, October 10-12

Women entrepreneurship, rural development among key topics during this year’s conference on microfinance and microenterprise

Overcoming the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and successful experiences to increase financial services in rural areas are among the key topics of this year’s XIV Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2011), the most important annual microfinance and microenterprise development event in Latin America and the Caribbean.

More than 1,200 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which will be held in the Costa Rican capital of San José October 10–12, 2011. The event is organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, in collaboration with Costa Rica’s ministries of finance and economy, industry, and trade. Media interested in attending the vent must register at the Foromic’s web site.

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla will open the event, which will have the participation of delegates from financial and microfinance institutions, associations of microentrepreneurs, government agencies, NGOs, international organizations and the academia working in the sector.

Other key speakers will include: Mayi Antillón Guerrero, Costa Rica’s Economy, Industry and Commerce Minister; Fernando Herrero Acosta, Costa Rica’s Finance Minister; Nancy Lee, MIF’s General Manager; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking; Michael Schlein, President and CEO of ACCION International; and María Aminta Quirce, Director of Banca Mujer of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica.

Conference Highlights

The conference program will discuss experiences and solutions to overcome barriers of women-owned enterprises to access financing in both small and growing businesses. International experts will talk about how to improve access to financial services specifically in the rural areas, and how to tackle over-indeptedness and create a culture of responsible finance, key issues to the microfinance industry.

Other topics crucial to the industry are financial services and partnerships to establish inclusive value chains in agricultural markets, business models to finance basic services, mobile banking and payments, clean energy and green finance, micro-franchising, and youth and entrepreneurship, among others.

On October 12 Foromic will also host an event that will mark the global launch of the 2011 Global Microscope, a report prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which will rank the business environment for micro finance in 55 countries, including 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report aims to guide governments as well industry representatives in major reforms to improve the environment for microfinance. The MIF, CAF Development Bank of Latin America, and the Netherlands Technical Assistance Trust Fund at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have provided support for the study.

Awards for Microenterprise Development

During the event’s inauguration, the MIF will also deliver the Inter-American Awards for Microenterprise Development. Banco FIE S.A. of Bolivia, FMM Popayán, a non-governmental organization from Colombia, and CABEXSE, a Bolivian export association, have won this year’s awards for their excellence in providing support to microenterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Also during the inauguration, the MIF will announce the winner for the award for excellence in local entrepreneurship, sponsored by Citi Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC) of Costa Rica and Asociación ADRI.

About the MIF

MIF is the largest provider of grants for private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since its founding in 1992, MIF has been a major supporter of microfinance and microenterprise development in the region.

With the 14th edition of the Foromic since 1998, the microfinance sector has come a long way. While in 1998, the region had only 205 microfinance institutions serving 1.5 million customers, today Latin America’s close to 600 institutions attend to approximately 9 million customers who receive $9 billion in loans annually.

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