Despite significant progress in expanding financial access for underserved communities across the globe, one billion women remained unbanked in 2018, according to Global Findex data from the World Bank. Jordan is one country that in recent years has successfully advanced financial inclusion for women. In 2018, 26.6% of women in Jordan had a bank account, an increase of more than 10% since 2014 (15.5%). With just over one in ten women in Jordan participating in the formal economy, however, much more needs to be done to ensure that more women gain access to financial services.
Last fall, one of Jordan's leading microfinance institutions, Microfund for Women (MFW), received $5 million equivalent in local currency financing from Citi Jordan, leveraging a risk-sharing program between Citi's Inclusive Finance group and the U.S. Government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). This financing will enable Microfund for Women to provide loans to an additional 10,000 underserved Jordanian women, increasing their number of borrowers by 7%. Greater financial inclusion for these 10,000 women is not just helpful for the borrowers – it will also provide real economic benefits to their families and communities.
With more than one million loans issued over its twenty-year history, MFW is Jordan's largest microfinance institution, providing sustainable financial services that enable women in Jordan to achieve greater financial independence and resilience. The Fund offers small business development loans to some of the country's most marginalized populations (96% of borrowers are women), as well as specialty products like group, seasonal and maternity loans to meet the unique needs of women who have historically been unable to participate in the formal economy.
This recent financing is just one example of how Citi's innovative public-private partnership with OPIC – the "Global Inclusive Finance Framework" – enables inclusive businesses and local microfinance institutions in emerging markets to extend microloans to borrowers in need of support. To date, Citi country businesses, Citi Inclusive Finance and the Institutional Clients Group's Export Agency Finance Group, under Citi/OPIC programs, have funded 65 institutions across 50 countries, providing $480.5 million of catalytic debt capital.
Citi Jordan's support for the Microfund for Women marks our second microfinance relationship in the country. This new collaboration is a successful expansion of the Citi Inclusive Finance and Citi Jordan partnership, but more importantly, it is a tangible example of how Citi is leveraging multisector partnerships and trusted local intermediaries to drive inclusive economic growth and progress across its global footprint.