TANZANIA Bill Clinton on a visit to CAREs microfinance programme in Tanzania

The former president of the United States Bill Clinton recently visited a microfinance programme in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, which was established and managed by CARE International UK in collaboration with Plan UK and Barclays and is part of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). He was deeply impressed by the impact the programme has in improving the quality of life for poor people, by enhancing, innovating and accelerating sustained access to savings and other financial services.

DAR ES SALAAM (August 2013) – The savings-led microfinance programme ‘Banking on Change’ is the world’s first savings-led microfinance programme that combines the deep understanding of two leading NGO’s with the financial expertise of a global bank to encourage extremely poor people to begin their path to financial inclusion through village savings and loans groups. On his recent visit to a community group in the Vingunguti ward outside of Dar Es Salaam, Bill Clinton saw first-hand the impact of the programme on the people. They have established a culture of saving regularly and thereby taken control of their financial future. Combined with financial and small business training, many have gone on to establish micro-enterprises.

When talking to the local people, Bill Clinton said: “I have been involved in programmes like this for over 30 years, long before I became President and I am very impressed by this one. What you are doing takes far longer to build a fund than if you are given money from outside the group, but this is much better, because it is your fund which you own because you generate the increase in savings.”

Further he stated: “This is the sort of thing that banking should be doing – it’s about real people, taking out real loans, to do real things. Thank you to Barclays, Plan and CARE, and to the community for all you are doing. This sends out a great message to Tanzania, and to all of Africa.”

During his visit, Clinton met with different participants of the programme and talked to them about the change the programme has brought to their life. Zainabu Rashid is 22 years old and runs her own hair salon in the village: “Joining the savings group enabled me to save up enough money to rent my own salon. After saving for a while, I was then able to take out a loan from the group so that I could buy my own equipment. I’d always dreamt that I would have my own salon or even a chain and employ other people to work with me. Now I believe that could be possible. I feel that I am now the mistress of my own destiny.”

In just three years the Banking on Change partnership has helped more than half a million people on this journey towards financial inclusion. For some groups who have saved regularly, they have been able to access more formal banking, a process known as ‘linkage’. Barclays Chief of Staff Catharine French, who attended the visit alongside President Clinton, said: “Banking on Change has already made a huge difference to people’s lives across the developing world, and the challenge now is to scale this up. The success of the programme over the past three years highlights the power of partnering between the private sector and NGO’s. This was central to our original commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. To have this visit by President Clinton gives us the impetus for further collaboration and innovation to give many more people access for the first time to the financial services they need.”

President Clinton also met with the country directors for Banking on Change partners Plan International and CARE in Tanzania. Paul Daniels, Country Director for CARE Tanzania said:

“It is wrong that there are 2.5 billion unbanked people around the world when we know that access to basic financial services is essential to finding a lasting route out of poverty. Banking on Change has reached over 513,000 people with financial services, most of them women. This has helped them to become financially independent, establish thriving businesses and have better access to health and education. Importantly, it has also raised self-esteem and confidence and people have taken pride in taking control of their own lives. This visit is a welcome recognition that the issue of financial inclusion requires real global leadership and it will take a joint effort to tackle the inexcusable barriers that keep communities from fulfilling their economic potential.”

In August, the President and Chelsea Clinton were travelling across Africa to visit Clinton Foundation projects in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Africa. This trip and the projects visited highlighted many of the issues that President and Chelsea Clinton have long worked on — economic growth and empowerment, equality of opportunity, and health access.

Notes to editor:

Banking on Change has to date achieved:

- 513,000 people have access to informal financial services and are better able to manage their money  
- Over 25,000 informal savings groups formed
- 660 savings groups (18,000 people) have a safe place to keep their savings in group accounts in Barclays branches

About Barclays: Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

About Plan: Plan is a global children’s charity working with children in the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future. A future you would want for all children, your family and friends. For 75 years Plan has been taking action and standing up for every child’s right to fulfil its potential through giving children a healthy start in life, including access to safe drinking water, securing the education of girls and boys and enabling families to earn a living and plan for their children’s future. For more information, please visit www.plan-uk.org

About CARE: CARE fights poverty and injustice in 87 countries around the world to help the world’s poorest people find routes out of poverty. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives in the aftermath. CARE’s mission is to create lasting change in poor communities and put money where it is needed most. CARE tackles the underlying causes of poverty so that people can become self-sufficient. Recognising that women and girls suffer disproportionately from poverty, CARE places special emphasis on working with women to create permanent social change. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, increase access to quality healthcare and expand economic opportunity for all.

Learn more about CARE's work on economic development or particularly our focus in Tanzania.

You can also access here a CARE report on microfinance in Africa.