A $250,000 contribution from Monsanto Company will help empower thousands more Tanzanians working their way out of poverty
Opportunity International announced it received a $250,000 grant from Monsanto Company, an agricultural company committed to improving farm productivity and crop quality, to expand access to affordable financial services in Tanzania that will enable emerging entrepreneurs to generate more income for their families, and contribute to the economic development of their communities.
“Opportunity International is grateful to Monsanto Company for supporting its efforts to alleviate global poverty by providing impoverished people with access to life-changing financial services,” said Dennis Ripley, senior vice president, International Business Development, Opportunity International. “Over the past year, Opportunity has witnessed a tremendous growth in demand for small business microloans among struggling entrepreneurs in Tanzania. We started 2011 with just over 3,000 clients in Tanzania, and at the end of the 1st quarter in 2012, we were serving more than 7,767 clients, representing a 159 percent increase.”
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world with approximately 90 percent of its people living on less than $2 per day, and 60 percent living on less than $1 per day. One out of every three Tanzanians is self-employed, yet less than five percent of the population has access to formal banking and financial services.
Since 2008, Opportunity has aggressively expanded its operations to enable a greater number of entrepreneurs—the majority of whom are women—to secure personal savings accounts, borrow capital for their businesses, receive training to develop professional and life skills, and obtain insurance to protect their assets. “With Monsanto Company’s support, Opportunity is well-positioned to empower many more of Tanzania’s poorest citizens to work their way out of chronic poverty, transforming their lives, their children's futures and their communities,” continued Ripley.
“At the core of Monsanto’s business is a commitment to improve the lives of people around the world, which aligns closely with Opportunity International’s efforts to alleviate poverty and to empower the world’s working poor through access to affordable, convenient financial services,” said Natalie DiNicola, vice-president of sustainable partnerships, Monsanto. “It is our hope that the partnership with Opportunity will foster entrepreneurship among Tanzanian citizens and we look forward to witnessing the impact that our contribution will have.”
Monsanto is committed to supporting farmers in developing countries through initiatives aimed at boosting agricultural productivity. The company is a partner organization in World Economic Forum and supports the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative. Monsanto’s involvement in SAGCOT is a part of the company’s efforts to support Tanzanian President Kikwete’s Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) initiative, strengthening the country’s economy through agricultural production.
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