Africa will never develop without the expansion of the free market. Through small and medium sized loans and business mentoring, Accion gives people in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing areas of the world the financial tools they need to improve their lives through development of their businesses, thus expanding the free market one entrepreneur at a time.
I recently spent a week in Tanzania with some of those who benefit from Accion’s loan programs. The size of their enterprises varied greatly, from the young mother selling fruit in the market to the middle-aged man and his chicken-feed factory that employs dozens. All have benefited from services that are still scarce across the developing world: access to finance and capital to start a business.
Tanzania’s GDP is growing by 6.5% annually and almost no markets are saturated. My assignment here coincided with the state visit of President Obama, whose remarks here on economic growth are echoed in Accion’s ethos: “If people across this continent are just given a chance, if they’re just empowered with the skills and the resources and the capital … they can achieve extraordinary progress.”