Barclays, a London-based international financial services provider, recently announced through Vinit Chandra, CEO of Barclays Africa, that the bank will invest USD 50 million in microfinance activities in Africa. Mr Chandra made the announcement after observing a meeting of a village savings and loan association in Abokobi, a town near Accra, Ghana .
The investment builds on an existing three-year project, the Banking for Change initiative. Barclays launched the initiative in September 2008, in partnership with international development organizations CARE International and Plan International, with the goal of enabling access to financial services for 500,000 people in Africa, Asia and South America, such as through village savings and loans associations .
Barclays initially pledged to commit GBP 10 million (USD 15 million) to the initiative, but has increased its commitment to African countries through this new pledge. It is not clear whether this USD 50 million commitment is an increase of the original commitment to USD 50 million or an additional commitment on top of the original. No revised goals or timelines have been announced in connection with the expanded funding.
By Lindsey Shaughnessy, Research Associate
About Barclays: Barclays is a London-based international financial services provider that operates in more than 50 countries. Barclays offers wealth management, investment banking, personal banking, and corporate banking services. As of year-end 2009, Barclays reported total assets of GBP 1.38 trillion (USD 2.1 trillion).
About CARE International: CARE International (CARE) is a Switzerland-based, global non-governmental organization with poverty reduction programs aimed at developing women’s economic capabilities. Founded in 1945 and originally established as a means to send supplies to post-war Europe from America, it has evolved into a large-scale humanitarian organization. As of June 30, 2009, CARE supported approximately 800 projects in 72 countries to reach 59 million people. It reported total assets of USD 952 million at that time.
About Plan International: Plan International (Plan) is a UK-based children’s development organization founded in 1940. It works in 48 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas with the goal of promoting child rights and lifting children out of poverty. Plan works with 3.5 million families each year. Plan has no religious, political or governmental affiliations. From mid-year 2008 to mid-year 2009, Plan’s expenditure on programs was EUR 348 million (USD 466 million).
Sources and Additional Resources:
 Business & Financial Times, “Barclays Commit US$50m To Improve Microfinance Schemes”, by Ekow Essabra-Mensah, August 25, 2010. http://www.thebftonline.com/bft_subcat_linkdetails.cfm?prodcatID=6&tblNewsCatID=2&tblNewsID=5318
 MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Barclays Bank and Development Organizations CARE International and Plan International Launch Microfinance Project in Ghana as Part of Larger Multi-Country Initiative”, June 3, 2010. https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-barclays-bank-and-development-organizations-care-international-and-plan-international-launch-microfinance-project-in-ghana-as-part-of-larger-multi-country-initiative/
MicroCapital’s Microfinance Universe profile: Barclays
MicroCapital’s Microfinance Universe profile: CARE International
MicroCapital’s Microfinance Universe profile: Plan International
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