Bulletin Board

Renewal of USAID Initiatives

The Microenterprise Coalition joined the US Agency for International Development (USAID) staff, members of the US Congress and Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill, in celebrating the renewal of USAID's Microenterprise Initiative, on July 24, 1997. Speakers included Mrs. Clinton; USAID Administrator Brian Atwood; Microenterprise Coalition co-chairs, Maria Otero and Lawrence Yanovitch; and US Congressmen Ben Gilman and Sam Gejdenson. Mrs. Clinton's speech highlighted the effectiveness of microfinance in enabling the poor women to succeed. Congressman Gilman spoke about the Microenterprise Act, drafted by him and Congressman Gejdensen. Mr. Atwood discussed USAID's role in microenterprise development, pledging US$20 million each year in the foreign aid renewal legislation. Their goals are to reach women, make loans of less than $300 to two-thirds of USAID clients, devote half of microcredit funding to poverty lending, and achieve an average growth rate of 15 percent in the number of clients served.