Summary: H.R.1129 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/09/1997)

Microcredit for Self-Reliance Act of 1997 - Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to set forth congressional findings and policy, including that: (1) the development of micro- and small enterprise, including cooperatives, is a vital factor in the growth of developing countries and in the development of a free, open, and equitable international economic system; and (2) programs that provide credit, training, and technical assistance to private institutions can serve as a valuable complement to grant assistance provided for the purpose of benefiting micro- and small private enterprise.

Authorizes the President to provide assistance to increase the availability of credit to micro- and small enterprises lacking full access to credit through: (1) loans and guarantees to credit institutions; and (2) training programs for lenders and micro- and small entrepreneurs. Sets forth assistance eligibility criteria.

Authorizes the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) to provide grant assistance for programs of credit and other assistance for microenterprises in developing countries. Directs the Administrator, in order to maximize the sustainable development impact of such assistance, to establish a monitoring system that sets certain performance goals for it.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that: (1) AID, in carrying out the goals of this Act, shall seek to cooperate with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to complement and expand IFAD activities, especially with respect to institutional development; and (2) the United States should continue to support and contribute to IFAD activities, especially those related to microenterprises and microfinance (including the Microfinance Capacity Building Grant Initiative).

Expresses the sense of the Congress that: (1) the Microstart Program established by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) represents an important new initiative; and (2) the President should instruct the U.S. representative to the United Nations to use the U.S. vote to support the Program.