PRESS RELEASE: Accion Announces MetLife Foundation Grant to Support Financial Inclusion in Myanmar
Thursday, May 28, 2015
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 27, 2015 — Financial inclusion pioneer Accion announced today that the MetLife Foundation has awarded Accion a $250,000 grant over two years to support its new MFI, Dawn Microfinance, in Myanmar.
Accion, together with Dutch development bank FMO and Triodos Investment Management, recently closed their investment in Dawn, with the goal of building it into a premier institution that can serve as a model for the country’s nascent industry and influence the overall development of the sector.
With MetLife Foundation’s support, Accion plans to transform Dawn into a commercial, double-bottom-line, sustainable microfinance institution with significantly expanded outreach. Accion will build Dawn’s institutional capacity by strengthening its management and staff; expand its range of products and services to better meet client needs; strengthen management systems, information technology and internal controls; and prioritize consumer education and client protection. The consortium plans to expand Dawn’s loan portfolio from $2.6m currently to more than $41m over the next five years, and serve as many as 195,000 clients.
Myanmar was recently described by The Economist as the ’final frontier.’ More than a quarter of the country’s population of 51 million lives in poverty, with 80-90 percent lacking access to formal financial services.
“We are excited to partner with Accion to work on reaching a large number of the un- and under-banked people in the country,” said Dr. Moe Thouk, MetLife Chief Representation in Myanmar. “With the expertise and strengths that Accion, Triodos and FMO bring to Dawn, we are positive that this initiative will set the right tone for the industry to emulate,” he added.
Accion and its partners will measure success in Myanmar by both assessing Dawn’s performance and examining how the work’s ’demonstration effect’ will encourage other financial inclusion leaders to invest in the country. The partners anticipate that Dawn can serve as a role model for other microfinance institutions, helping to support and embed client protection, sound governance, financial literacy and social-performance management across the fledgling industry.
Originally launched in 2002 as a program of Save the Children, Dawn currently serves approximately 30,000 clients with loans ranging from $50 to $250. It consists of 120 employees and 12 branches in four different regions of Myanmar.