PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Today Citi announced it will provide $1 million in charitable contributions to three local microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Haiti to help restore the country’s microfinance industry which has suffered severe challenges in the aftermath of the earthquake earlier this year. The funds, which will be granted to Fonkoze, FINCA Haiti and SOGESOL, will help drive job creation, support livelihood preservation and contribute to the long-term economic development of the country.
Specifically, the grants will help alleviate the MFIs’ client losses while allowing the organizations to increase and extend their outreach to local micro entrepreneurs and small business owners most affected by the earthquake. Today’s announcement is part of the pledge Citi made to provide $2 million in charitable contributions to the relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. In addition and immediately following the earthquake, Citi, in partnership with the Pan American Development foundation (PADF), approved a shipment of pre-packaged relief supplies and launched a fundraising campaign to encourage donations from employees and clients across the world.
Citi anticipates that the charitable contributions will impact at least 13,000 Haitians entrepreneurs and their families who are rebuilding their lives post-earthquake.
“Our commitment to the people of Haiti is stronger than ever. We have operated locally in the country since1971, connecting individuals and organizations to products and services to meet their business and financial goals,” said Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. “We are proud to support leading local microfinance organizations, such as FINCA, Sogesol and Fonkoze, to help contribute to Haiti’s economic recovery and empower those most in need. This grant reflects our work with microfinance institutions in 60 countries around the world to support small business, drive job creation and empower individuals to become economically self-sufficient.”
“Enabling Haitians to get small businesses up and running again and restoring people’s jobs are among our most critical challenges moving forward,” said Ronald Baudin, Finance Minister of Haiti. “Citi’s support to strengthen our microfinance infrastructure, thereby jumpstarting local business and creating jobs, will be a welcome boost to the economy.”
“Over 200,000 families and small businesses in Haiti depend on MFIs for funding,” said Gladys M. Coupet, Director, Country Corporate Officer, Citi Haiti. “Our local team understands first-hand the key role played by the MFIs and appreciates the opportunity to support micro-enterprises that are so critical to job creation, which remains the top priority for Haiti. We also believe this recovery process is an opportunity to help Haiti develop and expand the existing capabilities of its financial system over the long term.”
Citi has been a part of the fabric of the community in Haiti since 1971. Citi Foundation has granted nearly $300,000 to local microfinance and microenterprise programs over the past 10 years. Additionally, in March, 2010, Citi’s Banamex joined the Inter-American Development Bank, OPIC and other partners to launch the Microfinance Growth Fund, a new lending facility that will provide up to $250 million in funding to microfinance intuitions in Latin America and the Caribbean.