The BBVA Microfinance Foundation and the OEI sign an agreement to provide training and boost self employment among people living in situations of poverty in Colombia and Chile

19 December 2008
  • In this first stage, the project will offer training and education in finance for 600 low-income earners with basic literacy, 60% of whom will be women.
  • Under the auspices of the programme, various businesses will be put under way, which will receive direct advisory services for their establishment and have access to microloans from BBVA Microfinance Foundation institutions.
  • The aim of the agreement is to promote and drive self-employment as a strategy for fighting poverty and for creating opportunities.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation and the Organization of Iberoamerican States (Spanish initials OEI), have signed a collaboration agreement to foster vocational training and entrepreneurship among people living below the poverty threshold, in order to promote self-employment. The agreement was subscribed by the Chairman of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, Manuel Méndez del Río, and the OEI Secretary General, Álvaro Marchesi.

Once under way, the project will allow 600 low-income earners, who are currently in the OEI.s Iberoamerican Literacy Programme, to receive training to improve their knowledge on banking and finance concepts and, most importantly, to acquire the necessary tools and skills that will enable them to set up their own businesses.

The project also foresees these people setting up businesses or small production activities under the training programme, which will provide specialised advisory services to help them do so, and access to microloans through institutions belonging to the BBVA Microfinance Foundation.

This pilot project in training and self-employment for the poor will initially be undertaken in Colombia in the areas of Bogotá and Cundinamarca, and in Chile in Santiago and Valparaíso. However, it is expected to spread to the other countries in Latin America in which the BBVA Microfinance Foundation and the OEI are present.

Poverty in Latin America

According to data from the World Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), there are currently 194 million people with incomes below the poverty line (36.5% of the population), and 71 million on the threshold of homelessness (13.4% of the population).

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is working to promote the economic and social development of the most underprivileged sectors of the population in Latin America through microfinance. Through the institutions comprising its microfinance network, the Foundation currently attends 325,000 low-income customers who do not have access to the conventional financial system and who, thanks to the productive loans the Foundation has granted for an amount totalling $300 million, have been able to set up small businesses that have led to an improvement in their own and in their families. standard of living.

The Organization of Iberoamerican States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI) is an international governmental organization for co-operation between Iberoamerican countries in education, science, technology and culture, within a context of integral development, democracy and regional integration.