> Posted by Elisabeth Rhyne
Over the last few decades, I’ve seen microfinance emerge from a little-known development strategy, to the household word it is today. During that time, a number of people played key roles in this transformation and molding of the industry, one of them being my friend María Otero, ACCION president and CEO. Her contributions to microfinance and to the vision of making financial inclusion scalable and sustainable have now led her to a wonderful new opportunity to make a difference in the world.
This week President Obama nominated María as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs in the State Department. In this role she would coordinate U.S. foreign relations on a wide variety of global issues, including democracy, human rights, and labor; environment, oceans, health and science; population, refugees, and migration; and trafficking in persons.
While we are sad to see her leave, we are proud that María’s and ACCION’s work promoting financial inclusion and economic justice around the world is recognized through such a significant appointment.
Under her 23-year tenure as part of the ACCION family, ACCION’s network has expanded its reach from serving a few tens of thousands of microentrepreneurs to the millions. And in the 9 years she served as CEO, ACCION has expanded far beyond its core microfinance work in Central and South America, launching operations in Africa and India, and securing preliminary approval to begin operating in China.
María has been a leading voice on sustainable microfinance and has provided (and continues to provide) unwavering support to the Center for Financial Inclusion as we continue in our first year.
To learn more about María and ACCION’s transitional plan, please click here.