As the lead sponsor of the Asia Microfinance Forum 2010, the Citi Foundation is helping to assemble some of the world’s leading microfinance practitioners, policymakers, financiers, academics and advocates in Colombo, with the goal of helping to foster discussion and spur action towards building more scalable and sustainable microfinance and microenterprise.
Entitled ‘Financial Inclusion – Achieving Asia’s Potential,’ the Forum will be taking place from the 12th to the 15th of October, and is just one manifestation of the Citi Foundation’s commitment to the microfinance movement.
Indeed, the Citi Foundation has been deeply involved with the microfinance sector for over 25 years, having granted more than $80 million in support of 365 microfinance and microenterprise programs in 60 countries over the past 11 years alone.
The Foundation uses its enormous resources in order to help build the financial framework and knowledge base that makes these initiatives possible. It does this not only through its charitable funding programmes but also by identifying and cultivating promising on-the-ground partnerships as well as leveraging Citi employees’ technical expertise for the benefit of international NGOs and micro-entrepreneurs.
As the philanthropic arm of Citi, the world’s largest financial service network, the Citi Foundation can rely on an international presence that includes over 16,000 offices in 140 countries.
Citi is primarily involved in facilitating the commercial transactions that make business possible around the world and is keenly aware of the importance of extending these services to all socioeconomic groups. Through the Citi Foundation, Citi is invested in improving global living standards, knowing that its financial health is dependent on that of the communities it is a part of.
The Citi Foundation’s goals include enhancing access to financial services for the poor, which allows these individuals to increase their income levels, build sustainable businesses, and reduce their financial vulnerability. By supporting innovative approaches to these issues, the Foundation hopes to empower these individuals to become economically self-sufficient, thereby improving their respective societies.
The Citi Foundation’s commitment to innovation is mirrored by Citi Sri Lanka’s operational philosophy. Beginning local operations in 1979, Citi Sri Lanka is the country’s third largest foreign bank and has blazed new trails in terms of cash management solutions, trade financing, corporate finance, and risk management.
The Bank also provides a total range of financial products and services to its clients, which include multinationals, the Government of Sri Lanka, state-owned entities, and large local corporate organisations.
Through its philanthropic work, the Citi Foundation empowers those who are capable of making the most powerful impact. By acting as lead sponsor of the Asia Microfinance Forum 2010, the Citi Foundation, together with Hatton National Bank, the event’s local host, is hoping to spread the knowledge and best-practices that help sustain the world’s microfinance institutions and entrepreneurs.
Citi Sri Lanka is justifiably proud of its role in the effort to upgrade global financial structures. Indeed, Citi Sri Lanka Country Officer Mr. Glen Rase noted that just as the Citi Foundation “enables big changes by focusing on the small scale, by hosting the world’s largest gathering of microfinance experts, Sri Lanka is proving that any country can operate on a grand scale”.