Women Forge a Future for Apartadó

March 03, 2014
In the Colombian town of Apartadó, women are shaping a new beginning after years of violence Bullets, poverty, and unemployment have taken a big toll on many locations in Colombia.  Take Apartadó, for example—a 167,000 people municipality in northwestern Colombia ravaged by a fierce, decades-old guerrilla war that has forced a large portion of its population to leave. Fully 60 percent of those who have chosen to stay barely scrape a living below the poverty line. 

Women entrepreneurs: too often trapped in the microenterprise ghetto

October 05, 2011
Innovative approaches can boost women’s economic presence among small business owners in Latin America and the Caribbean Over the past three decades, women in Latin America and the Caribbean have dramatically increased their role in the workforce. Currently, about half of women in the region are economically active, more than double the level in the 1970s. They have been elected presidents of several Latin American countries and often dominate the microenterprise and microfinance sector, providing an important contribution to regional economies.

The Caribbean and the IDB at a Glance

September 27, 2010
The IDB member countries of the English-speaking Caribbean – The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – along with Dutch-speaking Suriname, are brought together by commerce, geography, history and traditions. Their economic situation and development challenges, however, may vary widely.

The IDB, a partner of Colombia in development

March 17, 2009
Since the mid-1990s the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has been the leading source of multilateral financing for Colombia. Over the last 50 years, the IDB has approved more than US$14.8 billion in loans and non-refundable technical cooperation projects for Colombia. Throughout its history, the IDB has supported the Colombian government and private sector in key development areas such as infrastructure, state modernization and reform, small and medium enterprise, agriculture, energy, climate change and environmental protection.

Venture capital for low-income markets

February 26, 2009
Investing in housing, healthcare, education, basic utilities and nutrition can not only fulfill a social mission, but it can also be a profitable business venture. This is the concept of IGNIA Fund, which will channel venture capital resources to fund commercially viable growth companies serving the “base of the pyramid,” those persons in Latin America and the Caribbean earning less than $3,260 a year. The IGNIA Fund selects projects with the potential to be expanded on a larger scale, thereby increasing the social and economic impact.

Acting smart when income grows

March 27, 2008
The expansive economic cycle in Latin America rests largely on the rise of key commodity prices, but experience suggests caution in thriving years.

Pilar Ramirez, Social Entrepreneur

December 27, 2007
Pilar Ramirez and her associates have been very busy. Over the past 15 years, these five women with no formal financial background have build a lending organization with 25,000 clients and a loan portfolio of US$20 million and converted it to a regulated institution—Fondo Financiero Privado FIE—that has achieved sufficient scale and efficiency to reduce interest rates recently. Ramirez also won the Social Entrepreneurship Award in 2000 from the Inter-American Development Bank for pioneering micro-lending in Bolivia and advancing policies that favor women in Latin America.

Progress in Hard Times

December 27, 2007
Caja Los Andes, Bolivia’s second largest microfinance institution, has a lot to be proud of. Despite the recession in Bolivia last year, the caja maintained a low default rate of 6–7 percent of the loan portfolio and was able to increase its client base. For these achievements, Caja Los Andes won the prize for Excellence in Microfinance of Regulated Institutions from the Inter-American Development Bank in October 2000, and was also cited for its “clear business plan” and new products and services.

Marching to Its Own Drummer

December 26, 2007
Fondo Financiero Privado FIE SA, winner of the 2001 Inter-American Award for Excellence in Micro-enterprise Development for Regulated Microfinance Institutions, has always done things its own way.For starters, it is not affiliated with an international network. Back in its early days as an NGO, when the rest of the sector favored group credit, FIE bucked the trend by developing its own methodology for granting individual loans to urban microentrepreneurs.

Money Isn’t Everything

December 26, 2007
Most microentrepreneurs require financing to expand their businesses, but many of them also require training, says Maria Emma Jaramillo, head of the Business Development Unit of Colombia’s Fundación Carvajal. The problem is, the training has seldom been available to them. So Jaramillo’s unit created Centers for Productive Development, through which “we prepare microentrepreneurs to be more competitive,” she says.