Ethiopia has the second largest population in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the vast majority of its population living in rural areas where agriculture and related activities remain the main source of income.
- The life expectancy in Ethiopia is 53 years old
- The literacy rate in Ethiopia is 27 percent
- Seven out of every 20 children are malnourished
- Only 10 percent of children with malaria symptoms receive medication
- Close to 40 percent of the population live on less than US$1.25 a day
- According to the United Nation’s 2008 Human Development Index, Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 169 out of 179 countries.
Ethiopian microfinance institutions (MFIs) have rapidly expanded their outreach efforts to the poor since the industry was formally established there in 1996. In 1999, they succeeded in reaching nearly 500,000 clients and delivered an estimated 526 million birr (US $64.5 million) in loans. By 2007, outreach topped 1.4 million, marking growth of nearly 150 percent in less than a decade. However, this is just a fraction of the estimated 30 million Ethiopians who are living in poverty.
Grameen Foundation first began supporting microfinance in Ethiopia in 2007. In Ethiopia, we provide financial support through our Growth Guarantee program to Amhara Credit and Savings Institution (ACSI). ACSI has made enormous progress in a short time, receiving the Grameen Foundation 2007 Excellence in Microfinance award and ranking sixth on a Forbes magazine list of the top microfinance institutions. We also work with Specialized Financial and Promotional Institution (SFPI) which was among the first MFIs established in Ethiopia and has been experiencing remarkable growth despite its limited resources.
Grameen Foundation believes in sharing lessons learned with those who share our mission and goals to reach more of the world’s poor with microfinance. With that in mind, we have worked closely with the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions (AEMFI) to provide training and support to microfinance stakeholders across Ethiopia.