Obama Nominates Micro-Lender to State Dept

I don’t know much about Accion International, but one of its leaders, Maria Otero, was nominated by Barack Obama for the position of Undersecretary of Global Affairs, Department of State. According to ACCION International’s release:

Under Ms. Otero’s leadership, the number of poor microentrepreneurs served by ACCION’s partner network has grown from 460,000 to 3.7 million, in 25 countries. Over the same period, the partners’ combined active loan portfolio grew from $274 million to nearly $3.6 billion. Since 2000, ACCION has expanded significantly beyond its core microfinance work in Central and South America, launching operations in Africa and India, securing preliminary approval to begin microlending in China, and opening hub offices in Accra, Bangalore and Beijing. Under Ms. Otero’s direction, the ACCION staff has grown more than threefold, from 65 to 220.

ACCION’s work to create inclusive financial systems for the poor that are both sustainable and scalable has also brought both Ms. Otero and ACCION widespread recognition and awards, including her selection by Newsweek as one of America’s 20 most powerful women. Among ACCION’s awards are Fast Company’s ‘Social Capitalist Award,’ for five consecutive years; Charity Navigator’s highest rating, four stars, for efficiency and sound fiscal management; and, most recently, the Inter-American Development Bank’s ‘Juscelino Kubitschek Award’ for ACCION’s contributions to economic and financial development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This is another big social entrepeneurship/enterprise player within the executive branch of Barack Obama. It will be interesting to see how these folks bring social entrepreneurs into the official policy world to solve national and international problems.


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