USAID and IFC Join Forces to Help Developing World Businesses

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding which opens the way for these organizations to jointly support a range of new grassroots business development projects in the developing world. Poverty alleviation has become a primary objective of development efforts, and this new collaboration will help to build and maintain democratic states that support improved and sustained production techniques designed to create sustainable wealth.

IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiative (GBI) supports businesses that create sustainable economic opportunities for the poor and marginalized. Grassroots business organizations are socially-driven ventures that empower and engage those at the “base of the pyramid,” such as entrepreneurs, suppliers, consumers and employees. These businesses provide income, training and services to those who need it most by bridging a gap in the global marketplace. GBI intends to be a catalyst in this emerging sector, building partnerships with like-minded groups and leveraging its position within the World Bank Group.

“USAID supports self-sustaining and equitable growth and we thank the IFC for inviting us to join in on the Grassroots Business Initiative that empowers micro-enterprise, electronic commerce and poverty reduction with private sector growth,” said Timothy Mahoney, Director of USAID’s Office of Poverty Reduction.

GBI provides partners with a package of funding and technical assistance to strengthen each organization. These resources can then have a greater impact where it counts — at the grassroots level, encouraging the development of other small business start-ups and helping existing businesses to grow.

“We’re very pleased to be partnering with USAID on these projects,” said GBI Director Harold Rosen. “This partnership will help us to increase the impact we have on the social enterprise sector, and empower more people at the bottom of the social and economic pyramid.”

Source: Yahoo! Finance