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 has been a pioneer in promoting microfinance throughout the 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.


The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) , part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is the largest provider  of grants for improving the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

MIF is also the largest supporter of microfinance  in the region, having promoted modern technology, new management methods, and innovative products and services that have made the industry the most efficient and fastest growing in the world.

MIF does not directly invest in companies, but can leverage a variety of innovative financial instruments . MIF can work with partners in the private and public sectors, in civil society, and in national and regional projects in virtually any sector.

In general, MIF assistance aims to improve the capacities of small and microenterprises through projects in enterprise development, to expand access to finance and the financial system, through projects in financial democracy, and to improve the business environment.

Community, Research and Communication

Several non-financial instruments contribute to the promotion and strengthening of small businesses, such as the Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic)  and the knowledge platform MicAmericas. Microscope  and Microfinance Americas 100, both studies and analysis sponsored by MIF, are also considered products of global excellence.

Doing Business with the IDB Group

See more information about available financing opportunities for micro and small enterprises and microfinance institutions.


Leading experts - Tomas Miller

Thomas Miller

Tomas Miller heads the MIF’s Access to Finance Unit, covering microfinance, early-stage equity, small business financing and financial services for low-income people. He serves on the boards of directors of several financial institutions and investment funds specialized in microfinance. He has worked on microenterprise and small and medium-size business issues since joining the IDB in 2000, authoring numerous publications. Earlier in his career he worked for Corporación Andina de Fomento in Caracas. In Costa Rica, his home country, he was vice dean of general studies at Universidad Autónoma de Centro América (UACA). He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University, an MBA from the University of Dallas and a bachelor’s degree from UACA.

Leading experts - Fernando Campero

Fernando Campero

Fernando Campero is a lead specialist in the MIF’s Access to Finance Unit, where he works on projects involving financial intermediaries focused on serving microenterprises and small businesses. Prior to joining the IDB in 2000, he was director of investments and finance at Nacional Financiera Boliviana, a second-tier bank in his home country, and executive director of a Bolivian program for regulatory reform. Earlier in his career as an economist he worked for the United Nations Development Programme in China. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

Leading experts - Sergio Navajas

Sergio Navajas

Sergio Navajas is a senior specialist at the MIF’s Access to Finance Unit, where he leads projects and research on microfinance, focusing on the improvement of monitoring systems and indicators and the development of robust legal and regulatory frameworks to enhance the industry’s efficiency and transparency. Prior to joining the IDB in 2005, he worked as a senior economist at the US Agency for International Development in Bolivia, his home country, as senior researcher for the Ohio State University’s Rural Finance Program and as loan officer at Banco Industrial (BISA). He holds a Ph.D. in finance and development and a master’s degree in economics from the Ohio State University.