MICROFINANCE EVENT: Vikram Akula, SKS Founder and CEO, to Speak at Washington Offices of Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) April 11, 2008

“BROWN BAG” LUNCH WITH VIKRAM AKULA OF SKS MICROFINANCE

APRIL 11, 2008, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) periodic Brown Bag Lunches offer the opportunity to hear about happenings and advances in microfinance in a casual setting. This Friday at noon CGAP hosts special guest Vikram Akula, Founder and CEO of microfinance institution SKS Microfinance. Lunch will be served and, although the event is free of charge, RSVP is requested by Thursday, April 10 via cgap@worldbank.org. Event details are not available online, but CGAP may be reached at +1 202 473 9594. The CGAP offices are on the third floor of 900 19th Street NW, Washington DC.

Prior to launching SKS, Vikram Akulawas a Fulbright Scholar in India, during which time he coordinated a government-funded (Jawahar Rozgar Yojana) action-research project on providing microfinance for food security. He has also worked as a community organizer with the Deccan Development Society in Andhra Pradesh and as a researcher with the Worldwatch Institute, where he wrote articles on poverty and development. He holds an BA from Tufts, an MA from Yale and a PhD from the University of Chicago, where his dissertation focused on poverty alleviation strategies.

Since its launch in 1998, SKS Microfinance has provided over USD 550 million in loans, with loans of USD 223 million currently outstanding to 1,721,155 women members in poor regions of India. Borrowers take loans for a range of income-generating activities, including livestock, agriculture, trade, production and service businesses. SKS also offers interest-free loans for emergencies and life insurance to its members. Its nonprofit wing, SKS Foundation, runs an Ultra Poor Program. SKS currently has 700 microfinance branches in 15 states across India. In 2007, SKS Microfinance claimed nearly 170 percent growth and a 99 percent on-time repayment rate.

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