Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 1143 (ih) To establish a program to provide assistance for programs of credit and other financial services for microenterprises in developing countries, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...

H.R. 1143 (ih) To establish a program to provide assistance for programs of credit and other financial services for microenterprises in developing countries, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...


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        H.R.1143

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
             the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand


                                 An Act


 
To establish a program to provide assistance for programs of credit and 
 other financial services for microenterprises in developing countries, 
                             and for other 
                                purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Microenterprise for Self-Reliance 
and International Anti-Corruption Act of 2000''.

SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.

         TITLE I--MICROENTERPRISE FOR SELF-RELIANCE ACT OF 2000

Sec. 101. Short title.
Sec. 102. Findings and declarations of policy.
Sec. 103. Purposes.
Sec. 104. Definitions.
Sec. 105. Microenterprise development grant assistance.
Sec. 106. Micro- and small enterprise development credits.
Sec. 107. United States Microfinance Loan Facility.
Sec. 108. Report relating to future development of microenterprise 
          institutions.
Sec. 109. United States Agency for International Development as global 
          leader and coordinator of bilateral and multilateral 
          microenterprise assistance 
          activities.
Sec. 110. Sense of the Congress on consideration of Mexico as a key 
          priority in microenterprise funding allocations.

 TITLE II--INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE ACT OF 2000

Sec. 201. Short title.
Sec. 202. Findings and purpose.
Sec. 203. Development assistance policy.
Sec. 204. Department of the Treasury technical assistance program for 
          developing countries.
Sec. 205. Authorization of good governance programs.

        TITLE III--INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 2000

Sec. 301. Short title.
Sec. 302. Statement of purpose.
Sec. 303. Establishment of grant program for foreign study by American 
          college students of limited financial means.
Sec. 304. Report to Congress.
Sec. 305. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 306. Effective date.

                   TITLE IV--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 401. Support for Overseas Cooperative Development Act.
Sec. 402. Funding of certain environmental assistance activities of 
          USAID.
Sec. 403. Processing of applications for transportation of humanitarian 
          assistance abroad by the Department of Defense.
Sec. 404. Working capital fund.
Sec. 405. Increase in authorized number of employees and representatives 
          of the United States mission to the United Nations provided 
          living quarters in New York.
Sec. 406. Availability of VOA and Radio Marti multilingual computer 
          readable text and voice recordings.
Sec. 407. Availability of certain materials of the Voice of America.
Sec. 408. Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program Act of 2000.

         TITLE I--MICROENTERPRISE FOR SELF-RELIANCE ACT OF 2000

SEC. 101. SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the ``Microenterprise for Self-Reliance 
Act of 2000''.

SEC. 102. FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS OF POLICY.

    Congress makes the following findings and declarations:
        (1) According to the World Bank, more than 1,200,000,000 people 
    in the developing world, or one-fifth of the world's population, 
    subsist on less than $1 a day.
        (2) Over 32,000 of their children die each day from largely 
    preventable malnutrition and disease.
        (3)(A) Women in poverty generally have larger work loads and 
    less access to educational and economic opportunities than their 
    male counterparts.
        (B) Directly aiding the poorest of the poor, especially women, 
    in the developing world has a positive effect not only on family 
    incomes, but also on child nutrition, health and education, as 
    women in particular reinvest income in their families.
        (4)(A) The poor in the developing world, particularly women, 
    generally lack stable employment and social safety nets.
        (B) Many turn to self-employment to generate a substantial 
    portion of their livelihood. In Africa, over 80 percent of 
    employment is generated in the informal sector of the self-employed 
    poor.
        (C) These poor entrepreneurs are often trapped in poverty 
    because they cannot obtain credit at reasonable rates to build 
    their asset base or expand their otherwise viable self-employment 
    activities.
        (D) Many of the poor are forced to pay interest rates as high 
    as 10 percent per day to money lenders.
        (5)(A) The poor are able to expand their incomes and their 
    businesses dramatically when they can access loans at reasonable 
    interest rates.
        (B) Through the development of self-sustaining microfinance 
    programs, poor people themselves can lead the fight against hunger 
    and poverty.
        (6)(A) On February 2-4, 1997, a global Microcredit Summit was 
    held in Washington, District of Columbia, to launch a plan to 
    expand access to credit for self-employment and other financial and 
    business services to 100,000,000 of the world's poorest families, 
    especially the women of those families, by 2005. While this scale 
    of outreach may not be achievable in this short time-period, the 
    realization of this goal could dramatically alter the face of 
    global poverty.
        (B) With an average family size of five, achieving this goal 
    will mean that the benefits of microfinance will thereby reach 
    nearly half of the world's more than 1,000,000,000 absolute poor 
    people.
        (7)(A) Nongovernmental organizations, such as those that 
    comprise the Microenterprise Coalition (such as the Grameen Bank 
    (Bangladesh), K-REP (Kenya), and networks such as Accion 
    International, the Foundation for International Community 
    Assistance (FINCA), and the credit union movement) are successful 
    in lending directly to the very poor.
        (B) Microfinance institutions such as BRAC (Bangladesh), 
    BancoSol (Bolivia), SEWA Bank (India), and ACEP (Senegal) are 
    regulated financial institutions that can raise funds directly from 
    the local and international capital markets.
        (8)(A) Microenterprise institutions not only reduce poverty, 
    but also reduce the dependency on foreign assistance.
        (B) Interest income on the credit portfolio is used to pay 
    recurring institutional costs, assuring the long-term 
    sustainability of development assistance.
        (9) Microfinance institutions leverage foreign assistance 
    resources because loans are recycled, generating new benefits to 
    program participants.
        (10)(A) The development of sustainable microfinance 
    institutions that provide credit and training, and mobilize 
    domestic savings, is a critical component to a global strategy of 
    poverty reduction and broad-based economic development.
        (B) In the efforts of the United States to lead the development 
    of a new global financial architecture, microenterprise should play 
    a vital role. The recent shocks to international financial markets 
    demonstrate how the financial sector can shape the destiny of 
    nations. Microfinance can serve as a powerful tool for building a 
    more inclusive financial sector which serves the broad majority of 
    the world's population including the very poor and women and thus 
    generate more social stability and prosperity.
        (C) Over the last two decades, the United States has been a 
    global leader in promoting the global microenterprise sector, 
    primarily through its development assistance programs at the United 
    States Agency for International Development. Additionally, the 
    Department of the Treasury and the Department of State have used 
    their authority to promote microenterprise in the development 
    programs of international financial institutions and the United 
    Nations.
        (11)(A) In 1994, the United States Agency for International 
    Development launched the ``Microenterprise Initiative'' in 
    partnership with the Congress.
        (B) The initiative committed to expanding funding for the 
    microenterprise programs of the Agency, and set a goal that, by the 
    end of fiscal year 1996, one-half of all microenterprise resources 
    would support programs and institutions that provide credit to the 
    poorest, with loans under $300.
        (C) In order to achieve the goal of the microcredit summit, 
    increased investment in microfinance institutions serving the 
    poorest will be critical.
        (12) Providing the United States share of the global investment 
    needed to achieve the goal of the microcredit summit will require 
    only a small increase in United States funding for international 
    microcredit programs, with an increased focus on institutions 
    serving the poorest.
        (13)(A) In order to reach tens of millions of the poorest with 
    microcredit, it is crucial to expand and replicate successful 
    microfinance institutions.
        (B) These institutions need assistance in developing their 
    institutional capacity to expand their services and tap commercial 
    sources of capital.
        (14) Nongovernmental organizations have demonstrated competence 
    in developing networks of local microfinance institutions and other 
    assistance delivery mechanisms so that they reach large numbers of 
    the very poor, and achieve financial sustainability.
        (15) Recognizing that the United States Agency for 
    International Development has developed very effective partnerships 
    with nongovernmental organizations, and that the Agency will have 
    fewer missions overseas to carry out its work, the Agency should 
    place priority on investing in those nongovernmental network 
    institutions that meet performance criteria through the central 
    funding mechanisms of the Agency.
        (16) By expanding and replicating successful microfinance 
    institutions, it should be possible to create a global 
    infrastructure to provide financial services to the world's poorest 
    families.
        (17)(A) The United States can provide leadership to other 
    bilateral and multilateral development agencies as such agencies 
    expand their support to the microenterprise sector.
        (B) The United States should seek to improve coordination among 
    G-7 countries in the support of the microenterprise sector in order 
    to leverage the investment of the United States with that of other 
    donor nations.
        (18) Through increased support for microenterprise, especially 
    credit for the poorest, the United States can continue to play a 
    leadership role in the global effort to expand financial services 
    and opportunity to 100,000,000 of the poorest families on the 
    planet.

SEC. 103. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this title are--
        (1) to make microenterprise development an important element of 
    United States foreign economic policy and assistance;
        (2) to provide for the continuation and expansion of the 
    commitment of the United States Agency for International 
    Development to the development of microenterprise institutions as 
    outlined in its 1994 Microenterprise Initiative;
        (3) to support and develop the capacity of United States and 
    indigenous nongovernmental organization intermediaries to provide 
    credit, savings, training, technical assistance, and business 
    development services to microentrepreneurs;
        (4) to emphasize financial services and substantially increase 
    the amount of assistance devoted to both financial services and 
    complementary business development services designed to reach the 
    poorest people in developing countries, particularly women; and
        (5) to encourage the United States Agency for International 
    Development to coordinate microfinance policy, in consultation with 
    the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State, and to 
    provide global leadership among bilateral and multilateral donors 
    in promoting microenterprise for the poorest of the poor.

SEC. 104. DEFINITIONS.

    In this title:
        (1) Business development services.--The term ``business 
    development services'' means support for the growth of 
    microenterprises through training, technical assistance, marketing 
    assistance, improved production technologies, and other services.
        (2) Microenterprise institution.--The term ``microenterprise 
    institution'' means an institution that provides services, 
    including microfinance, training, or business development services, 
    for microentrepreneurs.
        (3) Microfinance institution.--The term ``microfinance 
    institution'' means an institution that directly provides, or works 
    to expand, the availability of credit, savings, and other financial 
    services to microentrepreneurs.
        (4) Practitioner institution.--The term ``practitioner 
    institution'' means any institution that provides services, 
    including microfinance, training, or business development services, 
    for microentrepreneurs, or provides assistance to microenterprise 
    institutions.

SEC. 105. MICROENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT GRANT ASSISTANCE.

    Chapter 1 of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 
U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new 
section:

``SEC. 131. MICROENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT GRANT ASSISTANCE.

    ``(a) Findings and Policy.--Congress finds and declares that--
        ``(1) the development of microenterprise is a vital factor in 
    the stable growth of developing countries and in the development of 
    free, open, and equitable international economic systems;
        ``(2) it is therefore in the best interest of the United States 
    to assist the development of microenterprises in developing 
    countries; and
        ``(3) the support of microenterprise can be served by programs 
    providing credit, savings, training, technical assistance, and 
    business development services.
    ``(b) Authorization.--
        ``(1) In general.--In carrying out this part, the President is 
    authorized to provide grant assistance for programs to increase the 
    availability of credit and other services to microenterprises 
    lacking full access to capital training, technical assistance, and 
    business development services, through--

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