Journal of Microfinance / ESR Review


Maria Otero


This article is a transcription of Otero's speech entitled “The Future of Microfinance: Creating Financial Systems to Serve the Poor Majority,” given on 11 March 2005 at the Economic Self-Reliance Conference held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Last November I met a widow of ten years in Arusha, Tanzania. Intent on providing a better life for her children and surviving as best she could, she had started a business selling rice soon after her husband died. Sophia has little education, but with a first loan of $50 she purchased a few kilo bags of rice for on-selling to retailers. Now, many loans later, Sophia's business employs several people and sells considerable quantities of rice, ground nuts, and beans.


Maria Otero serves as the president and CEO for ACCION International. She joined ACCION in 1986 and was executive vice president for eight years before assuming the role of president. Otero chairs the MicroFinance Network and co-chairs the Microenterprise Coalition. She sits on the boards of the Calvert Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Peace, and is an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Otero has worked with the Inter-American Foundation, CEDPA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and Bread for the World. She is coeditor of The New World of Microenterprise Finance and has written numerous articles. Otero holds master's degrees from both the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.



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ESR Review

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