Credit Access in South AfricaBecause poverty has hindered a large portion of South African households from getting access to formal credit sources, informal credit like loan sharks and mashonisa loans has prevailed. Economists believe that better credit access in South Africa provided by financial institutions might help to boost the economy as well as alleviate poverty.

Previous research from the University of Cape Town had already shown the strong relationship between economic growth and credit expansion in South Africa. Recently, economist Roelof Botha from the Gordon Institute of Business Science reiterated the idea that credit expansion – especially by financial institutions lending money to unsecured borrowers – could invigorate the struggling economy.

Though South Africa is experiencing a declining economy, the household debt to income ratio has dropped consistently, from 87.8 percent in 2008 to 73.2 percent in 2017. This ratio appears to be exceptionally low compared to South Africa’s trading partners like Australia, which exceeded 200 percent in 2017 despite its growing economy.

Notwithstanding a high percentage of homeownership (more than 54 percent), Botha argues that the low value of the homes – which disqualifies them as collateral – has become “unnecessary obstacles” for the households to obtain credit from formal channels.

Lowering the bar for obtaining credit allows consumers to purchase more goods or even to start small businesses, which are both beneficial to the overall economy. Furthermore, research from Innovations for Poverty Action shows that better access to credit could not only increase the quality of life of the borrowers, but also give lenders more profit.

In an article published by Boston Consulting Group in April 2017, researchers claimed that though the percentage of South African adults who have borrowed from commercial banks rests at a modest 12 percent, informal credit accounts for a greater portion of the entire credit market.

Compared to formal channels, debts from informal channels are more difficult to regulate and might exacerbate the financial situation of already unsecured borrowers due to the sky-high interest rate.

In addition, the South African informal debit market bears an alarming default rate of an estimated 12 percent – much higher than countries that are risk-averse like China (1 percent) and Germany (2 percent).

The Reserve Bank has already started to lower its repo rate and plans to reduce the rate further to increase credit access in South Africa in 2018, expecting better economic growth. The steady inflation rate, averaging 4.9 percent through most of 2017, also provides households with better credit affordability.

From a long-term perspective, Botha said, the number of households with a buying power of R120,000 or higher per year experienced a dramatic increase from 200,000 in 2002 to 2.7 million in 2016, making the average real growth 15 percent, which is much greater than the average economic growth rate. Therefore, credit expansion should have the potential to further this growth.

Expanding credit access in South Africa provided by regulated financial institutions has the potential to increase purchase power, lower unemployment rates and eventually boost economic growth while removing the financial barriers imposed by unregulated informal credit, helping people to exit poverty.

– Chaorong Wang

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in Bosnia and HerzegovinaPeople often sing the praises of microfinance as a means of encouraging entrepreneurship and growth in developing countries. Without a doubt, microloans are a resourceful tool. With the encouragement of the international community, they have been used rather extensively to help improve the ease of credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That being said, it is important to view microloans not as an economic panacea, but as a component of the overall financial sector that can and does affect other aspects of the developing economy.

The economic crisis that began in 2008 continues to affect credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to causing extended deflation, which hurts small businesses, it also left lending institutions very risk-averse, especially where small and medium-sized enterprises are concerned.

The situation is not all bad. There is an unusually large number of financial institutions in the country and the demand for credit is beginning to increase as the economy grows. This increase in demand is also caused by the growth of many small businesses. Unfortunately, conservative lending practices mean that while it would appear that would-be borrowers have plenty of options, it can still be difficult to get a loan. Additionally, high taxes and complicated regulations mean that there is a large informal sector in the country, further complicating the small business environment. Some of these informal operations are able to undercut their formal counterparts, making competition difficult and hampering people’s ability to get a loan.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is attempting to bring about change. Its Development Credit Authority Loan Guarantee facility backs up to 50 percent of the loan principal for borrowers deemed too risky for a regular loan. USAID is improving credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina by enabling borrowers to secure financing who would otherwise be rejected.

However, it is important to consider how improving credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina might have unintended impacts. This growth in access to microloans without broader changes in the macroeconomy has meant that while it is easier to secure financing to start a business, the same cannot be said for securing financing to grow an existing business.

While the international community has stepped in to encourage microloans, they have not done the same to encourage banks to make larger loans available to medium-sized enterprises seeking to grow. While many banks claim to offer this kind of financing, the reality is that many will only lend to the most exceptionally qualified applicants, and even then the rates and terms offered may simply not be feasible for the borrower.

This means that there is an ever-growing cohort of businesses in the country that are too large to benefit from microloans but too small or still too risky to borrow from domestic banks. This is a major hurdle to clear before credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina can really be said to have improved.

It is also important to consider the impact that improved credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina may have on education. One recent study found that 16 to 19-year-olds in Bosnia and Herzegovina whose parents received microfinancing for their family businesses were nine percent less likely to be regularly attending school. This figure jumped to 19 percent when the adults in the household had only a primary school education.

This is not to say that improving credit access in Bosnia and Herzegovina for small businesses isn’t a worthy endeavor. It most certainly is, and it can and does lift people out of poverty. However, it is important to also provide continued support and acknowledge the ways that this issue interacts with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s broader economic circumstances to ensure that this money is able to make a real difference.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Google

Credit Access in El SalvadorThe country of El Salvador is known for being the smallest and most densely populated country in Latin America. It has the twelfth-highest GDP in the Americas. A large portion of its economic growth comes from remittances.

Meanwhile, agriculture, which had fallen off in the 1990s, continues to play an important role in the economy as it employs 25 percent of the country’s labor force. Coffee and sugar, El Salvador’s main exports, account for a significant portion of the agricultural sector. But despite its comfortably high GDP, 32.7 percent of its citizens live in poverty.

A significant obstacle to alleviating poverty is limited credit access in El Salvador. In particular, while banking is common and easy to obtain in larger cities like San Salvador and Santa Ana, the poor, especially in rural areas, have the most difficulty. Of the 40 percent of the population with low income, only 6 percent have accounts at financial institutions. And while access has grown, most banks do not have branches outside of the major cities.

To combat this, in 2013 the World Bank funded and developed a program that, through technical assistance, supported the Salvadoran authorities in developing legal frameworks and financial services. The World Bank team provided a framework for financial correspondents (third parties such as grocery stores and pharmacies) that authorized them to provide basic financial services. As well, the World Bank provided feedback on models of regulation for mobile banking and electronic banking.

Through these efforts, the World Bank was able to legally enact a framework that allowed for those third-party groups to carry out basic financial services. And between December 2013 and May 2014, basic banking transactions through third parties totaled nearly US $45 million. By utilizing technical channels outside of banks themselves, the World Bank has been able to provide credit access in El Salvador for all its citizens.

And in 2010, the International Finance Corporation, which is a part of the World Bank, financed a $30 million project specifically for micro-financing. Based on remittance flow, which accounts for more than $2.8 billion of El Salvador’s GDP, this project will establish a new funding platform for Fedecredito, a cooperative of 55 El Salvador credit unions and banks. Through support from the World Bank, which will grow Fedecredito’s portfolio by up to 25 percent, Fedecredito hopes to use this new structure to give credit to over 30,000 micro-entrepreneurs.

Through these programs, credit access in El Salvador has improved, especially for the rural poor. As these projects continue and El Salvador gains more stability, hopefully, their citizens will have more economic freedom.

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in Sri LankaSri Lanka and its citizens can benefit greatly from credit access. As an island country in South Asia of many languages and ethnicities, it has, of course, been a product of dispute for many years. A democratic republic, political unrest and ethnic divide have been a main source of disarray as noted by its thirty-year civil war which ended in 2009. But besides political issues, Sri Lanka is an economically stable country in South Asia, with a high Human Development Index rating and a per capita income that ranks highest among South Asian countries. Its main economic sectors are tourism, textiles, rice products, and tea, of which it is the second-largest exporter in the world. Similar to most countries, however, while there is certainly stability, Sri Lanka does have its issues.

Sri Lanka still has a large number of citizens who live in poverty. While only 1.8 percent of Sri Lankans live in abject poverty, nearly 45 percent live on $5 or less a day. It is difficult to maintain a stable income, especially in rural areas. It is even more difficult to achieve personal growth when income covers expenses and there is little left over.

Credit Access in Sri Lanka

That’s why credit access in Sri Lanka, especially in rural communities, is an important stage in its continued development. In a report from 2005, the World Bank Group discusses the best methods of increased access for the rural poor. For example, enhanced remittances and payment services, and long-term saving instruments are highly useful for the poor and can be implemented in small and rural enterprises.



Remittances, particularly, have grown rapidly in Sri Lanka. As the report states, Sri Lanka should move from an informal, unsafe network to a formal financial institution with better services, such as savings and insurance. This improvement in credit access in Sri Lanka will allow citizens to manage their financials with lower risks.


Loan Access

A 2011 assessment by the World Bank concluded that only 35 of Sri Lankan small firms can access a loan or a line of credit. Then, in 2013, Sri Lanka’s Credit Information Bureau (CRIB) and the World Bank agreed to boost credit access by making it easier to use movable assets as collateral. The World Bank will help CRIB to develop a legal framework that allows small businesses to mortgage inventory and equipment to bypass the traditional loan agreements.


Loans to Boost Credit Access

And in 2016, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and LOMC (the nation’s leading microfinance institution) inked a $25 million loan agreement to boost credit access in Sri Lanka, specifically for small businesses and individuals. Under the agreement, LOMC will use the loan as funds for lending to micro-businesses and will improve financial products and outreach to remote farmers. LOMC hopes to improve access to banking, as 70 percent of citizens do not have any access, and, because the deal lasts five years, have the sources for long-term loans.

Sri Lanka continues to grow, and with these credit-based programs and findings, it will do so in a stable and financially viable direction. Hopefully, within the next decade, a majority of the population will have access to banking, and credit will allow for the rural poor to lead more economically independent lives.

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in NicaraguaAs the largest country in the Central American isthmus, Nicaragua has also struggled for decades as the poorest country in the Americas. After suffering hereditary military dictatorship by the Somoza family that unevenly distributed the already meager national wealth, the country has taken steps to redistribute wealth as a democratic republic. However, 48 percent of its citizens live below the poverty line, with 79.9 percent surviving on $2 a day. Credit access in Nicaragua is deemed one way to a better economic future.

Need for Strong Credit 

Currently, agriculture and tourism are the largest industrial sources in Nicaragua. Agriculture makes up about 60 percent of its total annual exports with crops such as coffee and tobacco. While the stability of these industries helps with economic growth, one of the most important aspects of economic autonomy is improved credit access in Nicaragua. A stable financial system contributes to a country’s growth, and an inadequate credit system weakens it.

The civil war of the 1970s and hyperinflation in the 1980s severely hampered credit access in Nicaragua and the development of credit unions. For farmers, the civil war and land reform caused uncertainty regarding property rights in the legal system and many poor farmers cannot use property titles to support loans.

Purchase for Progress

These are the reasons why the World Food Program set up the Purchase for Progress (P4P) program. With this program, farmers can receive higher loans than those offered by banks. Since 2008, P4P has set up a revolving fund of over $400,000 with interests considerably lower than private bank rates. Through this program, it’s much easier for farmers to make a profit with better inputs and higher yields.


The previously mentioned program also highlights a significant style of credit access in Nicaragua: microcredit. The microcredit movement which focuses on small loans and access for those who do not have much to support loans, like farmers, began in the 1990s. The Winds for Peace Foundation (WPF) is another organization that provides a framework for increased access to credit for small-scale farmers through its Local Development Fund, which was founded under NITLAPAN, a research institute in Nicaragua.

Originally, WPF invested in multinational microcredit groups that provided capital and low-rate loans across Central American countries. Soon after it began to support Nicaraguan groups because of their reach into the agricultural sector. By placing the support in Nicaraguans, this program allows for both credit access and for a Nicaraguan institute to autonomously control the path of money and support.

World Bank Improvements

In 2008 the World Bank enacted a plan to provide more financial services and credit across Nicaragua. Through technical support, the World Bank focused on major needs such as

  • improvement of regulations for microlenders;
  • reduction of commercial risks for state-supported banks;
  • and enhanced support services for microlenders.

Through these actions, the World Bank was able to expand the number of deposit and loan accounts in a four-year period by 68 percent.

By developing more stable forms of credit, these programs have created a more stable Nicaragua. For a small farmer with little to his or her name, credit access, even in microcredit form, allows for more stability and more consistency. Through credit access, Nicaragua will gradually diminish its poverty.

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr

credit access in South Africa
In order to have a stable and profitable economy, a country must rely on instilling credit options for its citizens. This comes with some downfalls, such as the ability to spend more than one earns, and can lead to debt.
Credit access in South Africa became a struggle for its citizens, and in 2001, about 57 percent of the country lived below the poverty line. More often than not, it’s poor people that lack credit for loans and other ways to get funds.


Accessing Financial Services

During apartheid, many South Africans were denied access to simple financial services like being able to establish credit. Whether caused by social barriers or policies, the people living in the country strived for change once the divisive political system came to an end.

South Africans were able to pass the National Credit Act in 2005, an act that allows for the promotion and advancement of “the social and economic welfare of South Africans, and also promotes a fair and transparent credit market and industry to protect consumers,”  according to the Banking Association of South Africa. 


A Decade of Results

In the decade after the law was passed, there has been a significant increase in job retention, income and even the quality of food being grown and purchased. South Africans’ lives were affected in positive ways as a direct result of having a credit score. Credit access in South Africa also helped people feel that they still had ways to support their families, even during times of job insecurity.



Lulalend is a South African based lending company that aims to help small businesses reach their potential growth levels and caters to what they call small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Founded in 2014, the organization aims to make a difference for businesses “too small to receive credit from traditional commercial banks, yet too large to receive credit from micro-financing businesses.”

Lulalend helped with credit access in South Africa in a major way because the application and review process is so quick. However, it has come with some drawbacks: in a 2015 World Bank report, South Africans were the world’s biggest borrowers and also managing their debt poorly.


A Brighter Future

As long as credit providers are willing to work with the borrowers, the economy may become stable enough to support the country without a large market crash. Efforts such as improved credit access are the crucial routes necessary to changing this region’s economic status.

– Nikki Moylan

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

credit access in BelarusFor emerging economies, ensuring as many people as possible have access to credit is an important step in promoting economic activity. Improved credit access in Belarus will encourage economic growth as more people are able to start businesses. It will also give people greater confidence in the economy and encourage them to spend more money.

The Belarus economy struggles primarily with financial inclusion. This means that although the Belarusian economy has the financial infrastructure in place to offer people financial products, many people do not take advantage of them. Surveys have indicated that this is primarily due to low levels of financial literacy in Belarus, as well as the financial system’s inability to reach people in rural areas as easily as their urban counterparts. However, some of the results have indicated that Belarusian banks just do not lend liberally enough to ensure full credit access in Belarus.

International Involvement

This is where the international community can and does step in. Belarus is a country that stands to benefit from greater access to microloans, which are often provided by international actors such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is currently contemplating a major contribution to improving credit access in Belarus. The EIB is considering providing the equivalent of a $100 million credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises. This line of credit will be used in conjunction with loans provided by Belarusian banks. The EIB funds are to be used to provide half of the financing requested by borrowers, with the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or local banks covering the rest. The EIB loans also come with a five year grace period during which no payments are due on the principal of the loan.

Making this financing available will greatly improve credit access in Belarus for would-be business owners and will enable many more people to start their own businesses. This project is notable because it will prioritize making capital available to those wishing to use it for projects that will promote broader economic development.

Financial History

Steps are also being taken to improve financial literacy along with credit access in Belarus. USAID is working with local nonprofits who provide microloans to organize training for borrowers to ensure that they understand the terms of their loans and are able to pay them back.

Additionally, the Belarusian credit registry has recently moved to give all Belarusians access to their credit reports via the internet. Previously, this information was only available to customers of one particular bank. Now, any Belarusian is entitled to view their credit report once a year free of charge. People can view their report additional times for a nominal fee.

Giving people greater access to their credit history is a major accomplishment and has the potential to promote greater credit access in Belarus. It can encourage more people to engage with the financial system and give them a clearer picture of where they stand, enabling them to make informed decisions about their finances. With increased financial knowledge, people could potentially be encouraged to take out loans they previously would not have thought themselves eligible for. All of this, in turn, will generate more economic activity.

Belarus is an emerging market that will benefit greatly from improved credit access. Ensuring full credit access is an easy way to promote economic development and improve quality of life. Thanks to both local and international actors, Belarus is making major strides in this area.

– Michaela Downey
Photo: Flickr

credit access in CubaCuentapropistas, small and medium-sized Cuban private enterprises, do not have access to the assets they need in order to continue to prosper in Cuba. Since the initiation of President Raúl Castro, the amount of private business owners has tripled and the number of nonagricultural co-ops and individuals renting property has also continued to grow. For a continuous trajectory, credit access in Cuba for these cooperative enterprises and individuals needs investments and working capital.

There are over half a million legally registered cuentapropistas in Cuba and the numbers are still rising. These Meso, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) are an important economic asset to both Cubans and travelers, providing them with a wide variety of goods and services, creating employment and generating income.

Although microfinance lending has widened, it is still very limited. Statistics collected from the Central Bank of Cuba showed that in the wake of the government banking reform in 2011, 378,011 people received financing worth $135 million between the years 2012 and 2014. Only 34 percent of lending went to sole farmers and small enterprises, while micro enterprises accounted for about 2.6 percent. 63 percent of the loans that were lent went toward financing the construction of homes and renovating businesses.

Microcredit has been available in Cuba solely through local banks, as opposed to international banks or NGOs, which has presented a number of disadvantages to its success. Many Cubans lack a credit history, which has ruined the credibility and creditworthiness of borrowers. Another obstacle hindering credit access in Cuba is the lack of knowledge of the usage of credit among business owners primarily due to the many years of the nation’s state-owned and-operated political and economic system.

However, this has not stopped Credit4Cuba, a nonprofit foundation established in the year 2015 in the Netherlands by Marije Oosterhek and Dennis Schmidt. This organization is making a difference for cuentapropistas by supporting small and growing enterprise development in Cuba. Credit4Cuba works closely with existing groups in Cuba by providing the proper practical training and coaching assistance to entrepreneurs hoping to enter the world of cuentapropistas in order to expand their existing business.

Aside from offering training and coaching, Credit4Cuba aims to set up a social impact hub in Havana. It hopes to create a social community where entrepreneurs can meet to interchange experiences and collaborate on ideas in order to create opportunities and join efforts toward developing their businesses. In the near future, Credit4Cuba will work to connect cuentapropistas with social investors, entrepreneurs and trainers worldwide, provided that all participants will contribute toward the Sustainable Development Goals and work to create a positive influence in Cuba.

Microfinance organizations similar to Credit4Cuba, like the Grameen Bank and Kiva, are not only helping the economy for developing countries to prosper, but they are also contributing to the reduction of poverty. Credit access in Cuba for small business owners is slowly moving in the right direction.

– Zainab Adebayo

Photo: Pixabay

credit access in Malaysia
Malaysia is a rapidly growing economic country with only 0.6 percent of its population living below the poverty line. The country’s economy is largely dependent on Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which comprise 36 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and also provide employment to 65 percent of the population.

Despite this success, however, financial institutions were reluctant in granting loans to SMEs, thereby making credit access in Malaysia difficult. The reasons behind these barriers include a lack of:

  • collateral to secure loans
  • capacity to borrow money
  • insufficient knowledge & track record of business


Small to Medium Enterprises

SMEs are important for Malaysia’s growth and development as these organizations represent almost 97 percent of the country’s business establishment; such enterprises therefore provide a vital source for job creations. Sometimes these small businesses start as an idea from a few people investing their own money or borrowing from friends and family.

With success, extension of businesses become inevitable and then require money to hire new people, develop new products and facilitate other business necessities. Due to this chain, the administration came up with ideas to ease the process of credit access in Malaysia.


Credit Guarantee Corporation

Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) of Malaysia with their 45 years of experience came with a wide variety of schemes for supporting SMEs. Some of them are Biz-Mula for Malaysian start-up companies, Biz-Wanita for women headed enterprises, Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) for supporting sustainable energy and also other schemes for indigenous Malaysians.

The CGC schemes cover almost 50 to 90 percent of the risks of granting loans in exchange for a 2 to 3.5 percent fee; this coverage thus makes credit access in Malaysia accessible for many small to medium business organizations. The scheme is properly designed and verified so as to be accepted by the banks in Malaysia.


Benefits for Small and Medium Enterprises

Biz-Mula is a direct financing scheme for small businesses less than four years old. These schemes utilize Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for the funding of SMEs. With certain eligibility and restriction criteria, the financing amounts range from 30,000 to 300,000 Malaysian roubles (RM).

Biz-Wanita scheme is the same as Biz-Wala except it only funds women entrepreneurs; both Biz-Mula and Biz-Wanita work for all economic sectors, except primary agriculture and micro-enterprises.

The GTFS provides opportunity for green investments by offering a 60 percent guarantee on the financing amount and a 2 percent discount on the interest or profit rates. This scheme was accessible from both private and commercial financial institutions till December 2017; this support greatly helped in the expansion of the green technology sector.

Pembiayaan Mikro scheme provides financing for up to 50,000 RM without collateral to micro enterprises who oftentimes lack credit history. The scheme can also offer lower-rate finance through BNM’s Micro Enterprise Fund.


Benefits from Foreign Direct Investments

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Malaysia ranged between $9 to $12 billion during the years of 2010 through 2017. According to the data gathered from the  Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), the majority of these investments stem from China, Japan, the Netherlands and the U.S. Generally, the funds originate from the service, mining, manufacturing and construction fields, and come with a promise of almost 61,930 job opportunities through 2,294 projects.

Malaysia is a country where credit access has been strategically eased for business growth through the lowering of collateral requirements, longer-term loans and lower interest rates. These changes were possible by joint initiatives from both the administration and financial institutions and hopefully will continue to be effective and helpful to the people of Malaysia.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

credit access in EcuadorEcuador, located on the northwest coast of South America, implemented numerous credit programs in recent years. These changes help raise credit access in Ecuador and affect women and high-poverty communities the most.

According to the U.S. Department of State, 10 tax laws were passed in Ecuador from 2006 to 2012, all working to help credit accessibility and the economy. An estimated 5,000 new jobs will be created in 2015 to 2019 from finance programs.


The Programs

The National Program for Finance, Entrepreneurship and Economic Solidarity (PNFPEES), established in 2009, works to help people in high-poverty areas gain credit access in Ecuador by providing loans. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loaned $50 million to help employment opportunities grow and to expand microcredit, mainly for women with low income. IDB is also working to increase credit access in poverty-ridden areas of Ecuador by 60 percent.

World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) works to help extend credit to those who are poor or low-income clients. WOCCU established three programs to help grow access to credit:

  1. The Cooperative Strengthening Program
  2. The Rural Savings and Credit with Education (CREER) Program
  3. The Savings and Credit with Education (SCWE) Program

WOCCU and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) built the three programs on past designs and determined the best way to further credit access in Ecuador.

CREER has been one of the most effective programs for an increase in credit access in Ecuador. According to WOCCU, CREER uses five 16- to 24-week cycles of loans. The first loan starts at $200 and can then be increased in $100 increments up to $600 if they are paid off by the end of the cycles. Furthermore, this program is involved with four different credit unions, helping people to reach an all-time high of self-sufficiency at 168 percent.


How the Programs Help Women

According to WOCCU, 48 percent of the clients of these programs are women, with more than 200,000 registered accounts. The SCWE program works to help women who are capable of working with microenterprise but do not have the necessary assets to be successful.

In the villages, credit unions work with 20 to 25 members who want access to credit and loans. Part of the CREER program from WOCCU found that the women requested — and demonstrated the ability to pay off — higher loan amounts than the standard $60 to $300. The credit unions noticed the women’s potential and raised the loan amounts. Many of these women and other persons in low-income areas had an option to graduate from the credit unions, which allowed them access to loans of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000.

The mix of these programs from USAID and other organizations have worked successfully to expand credit access in Ecuador for not only women but also people who live in low-income areas. All of these programs give people a chance to have credit and take out loans that they might not otherwise have access to.

– Amber Duffus

Photo: Flickr