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Microfinance Institutions from Central America & Caribbean Meet in Nicaragua

 

By: Humberto Galo Romero

At least 850 representatives of microfinance institutions in Central America and the Caribbean met in Managua between August 3-5 for the 8th Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (FOROMIC).

“The use of technologies as a fundamental business tool in the microfinance sector was the main focus of the conference,” underlined Alfredo Alaniz, the executive director of the Nicaraguan Association of Microfinance Institutions (ASOMIF) during the press conference that kicked off the event.

Alaniz noted that ASOMIF unites 25 microfinance institutions in Nicaragua which currently serve a total of 500 000 clients throughout the country with a portfolio that exceeds US$ 300 million. “Of this total, 48% of loans are in the hands of women.”

Reaching out to Small Businesses

Ivan Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Central American and Caribbean Microfinance Network (Redcamif), another of the event’s organizers, mentioned that the conference tries to promote the exchange of experiences and information between the sector’s organizations, for example, experiences regarding updating technological systems and strategies.

“Redcamif represents more than 130 microfinance institutions in the region, more than 1.3 million clients and a credit portfolio of US$ 1.26 billion. Forty percent of the portfolio is directed to rural clients,” explained Gutiérrez.

Gutiérrez noted that Nicaragua is a leader in the microfinance sector, especially in regards to its innovation in developing new products.

Finally, José Adán Aguerri, president of the High Council for Private Enterprise (COSEP) highlighted that Nicaragua is one of the Central American countries with the most banks, however a recent study conducted by the World Bank found that in the country only 7 of every 10 homes has a telephone.

“For this reason, bringing credit products to clients is very important and technology can play a transformative role in this process,” argued Aguerri.