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S. 2027 – Microfinance and Microenterprise Enhancement Act of 2011

S. 2027 directs USAID to: (1) modify the Poverty Assessment Tools so that partner organizations can use them for expanded data management purposes, (2) align household-level interventions with interventions that link the poor to expanding economic opportunities, (3) support the development of financial products adapted to the needs of enterprises, (4) support microfinance institutions and providers that are using agriculture-specific tools, (5) promote financial services to meet the needs of poor households for cash flow management and asset accumulation, and (6) support partners that provide informal savings-led and asset building approaches to microfinance.

Urges USAID to: (1) consider support for small- and medium-sized enterprises as a means to improve productivity and competitiveness in key subsectors in which large numbers of poor micro-entrepreneurs participate; and (2) support organizations that link social protection programs with microfinance services, savings services, and business development services.

Authorizes USAID to utilize 1% of its development assistance account budget for FY2013 through FY2017 for the creation of a financial access and microenterprise innovation challenge fund that shall: (1) support cost-effective and innovative products and technologies that improve the delivery of financial services to the poor, particularly in rural locations; (2) support new microfinance and microenterprise products, services, and delivery systems that show potential to become cost-effective at large scale; and (3) help transition such methods and technologies to widespread adoption.

Introduced by Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on December 17, 2011. Co-sponsored by Sen. John Boozman (R-AZ).