WASHINGTON, DC, February, 12, 2019 – The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and the Citi Foundation announced a new partnership to strengthen financial institutions specializing in reaching underserved communities in emerging markets. The Citi Foundation is providing $1.2 million in funding to support the three-year initiative.

“Our partnership with the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion will help develop and strengthen the next generation of financial inclusion leaders who in turn will accelerate financial inclusion and economic progress for families and communities across the world,” said Florencia Spangaro, Director of Programs, Citi Foundation.

Through peer-to-peer learning and executive education programs, CFI builds organizational and human capacity around the globe to deepen and sustain financial inclusion. Its programs include the Harvard Business School (HBS)-Accion Program in Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance (SLIF), an intensive week-long course providing management and leadership training to those shaping the microfinance industry; and the Africa Board Fellowship Program (ABF), a governance focused six-month peer learning and exchange program for board members and executives of African financial institutions serving low-income clients. Citi Foundation funding will support both programs, supporting scholarships for HBS-Accion SLIF participants who demonstrate financial need and supporting the optimization and expansion of ABF.

“We are grateful to the Citi Foundation for recognizing the importance of investing in leaders who are working on-the-ground toward financial inclusion,” said Deborah Drake, Vice President, CFI, and head of the governance portfolio. “ABF and HBS-Accion SLIF alumni gain useful skills and knowledge, particularly around governance issues, as well as new relationships and strong networks that they can use immediately and draw on over time.”

Additionally, the Citi Foundation’s support will contribute to the launch of a new global executive education program to help C-suite leaders and board members of financial institutions effectively and sustainably serve underserved communities. Arriving in fall 2019, with seminars in Asia and Africa, this new program will focus on governance, risk management, growth, client centricity and other mission-critical issues.


About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion
The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect, and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients, and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.



Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion
Virginia Moore
+1 202.393.5113

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