$1.5 million investment to strengthen microfinance ecosystem in Asia

News Hour:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed a $1.5 million equity investment agreement with Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited (M-CRIL). The agreement was signed by Christine Engstrom, ADB’s Director for Private Sector Operations – Financial Institutions, and Sanjay Sinha, Managing Director of M-CRIL in a ceremony held in New Delhi.

The investment will boost M-CRIL’s resources, support its existing operations in India and Myanmar, and help it expand its activities in other emerging countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, and the People’s Republic of China.

In assisting M-CRIL meet accreditation requirements in India, ADB’s investment will help the company to develop a knowledge-based pathway for strengthened regional integration, with India potentially emerging as its key analytics hub.

“M-CRIL has a strong track record of providing ratings and advisory services for microfinance institutions. ADB’s investment will support M-CRIL to further strengthen its reach and impact in the microfinance sector in addressing risk management, transparency, and governance issues resulting in expanded financial inclusion and reduced poverty levels in Asia,” said Mr. Anshukant Taneja, Principal Investment Specialist at ADB.

The project will also strengthen Asia’s microfinance industry while catalyzing private sector funding, primarily from commercial banks and institutions, for microfinance institutions (MFIs). ADB’s investment includes specific measures that will help M-CRIL improve access to finance for women, who are the predominant borrowers, and will benefit from higher transparency and fair lending practices adopted by MFIs.

“ADB’s institutional support for M-CRIL will help us widen and increase our access to regional markets throughout Asia. In India, we will be able to deepen our coverage and provide rating services to a wider range of inclusive finance institutions,” said M-CRIL co-founder Frances Sinha. “ADB’s engagement will help us to draw new talent into M-CRIL to serve the inclusive finance agenda in Asia while maintaining our high level of independent analytical capability and strong governance practices.”

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