In most developing countries small and microenterprises account for a substantial share of total employment and gross domestic product and contribute significantly to poverty reduction. Yet, they lack access to credit and the financial services that can fuel and sustain their growth. EWV has been designing and delivering the type of financial services that meet the needs of micro- and small enterprises for more than 20 years. While each program is designed to meet the specific needs of the local environment, all EWV programs emphasize the provision of financial services to disadvantaged and under-served populations. EWV’s goal is to create wealth by helping to expand economic opportunities, increasing employment and promoting local entrepreneurial initiatives. Typically, women represent the majority of clients.
EWV has established and supported successful microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Benin, the Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Morocco, and South Africa. Some of the better known MFIs include PADME and MicroBank in Benin, Association Al Amana in Morocco, VITA/PEP in Chad, and PRIDE/Finance in Guinea. In rural areas that are inhospitable to even standard microfinance operations, EWV has helped to set up networks of community savings and loan cooperatives to meet entrepreneurs’ financing needs. In 2005, EWV’s financial services partners in Morocco and Guinea extended more than US$80 million worth of loans to more than 260,000 clients.