Despite moderate economic expansion in past years, approximately a third of Paraguay’s population is still living below the poverty line. The workforce is heavily concentrated in the country’s large informal sector, which has thousands of microenterprises. Despite a great need for financial services, access is very limited, with less than a quarter of the population holding an account at a formal financial institution.
Accion has been working to expand access to financial services in Paraguay for nearly thirty years. We currently work with a single partner in the country, Fundación Paraguaya – a nonprofit social enterprise that works to eliminate poverty through microfinance in both rural and urban communities. In addition, they also run education programs where the sons and daughters of poor farmers are trained to become “rural entrepreneurs”.
Accion has been working with Fundación Paraguaya since its inception in 1985. With technical assistance from Accion, a group of national business leaders founded the Fundación Paraguaya de Cooperación y Desarrollo to address the problems of unemployment and underemployment in Paraguay. Over the years we have continued to provide technical support.
Most recently, Fundación Paraguaya has partnered with our Center for Financial Inclusion and the Smart Campaign in order to develop how-to trainings and guides that will help MFIs become more disability inclusive. The need for this work is profound when you consider that persons with disabilities make up 15 percent of the developing world, while only accounting for less than one percent of current MFI clients around the world.
Accion is supporting partner Fundación Paraguaya with technical assistance services.