Text: S.3247 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 115-428 (01/09/2019)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 428]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 132 STAT. 5509]]

Public Law 115-428
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To improve programs and activities relating to women's entrepreneurship 
   and economic empowerment that are carried out by the United States 
          Agency for International Development, and for other 
             purposes. <<NOTE: Jan. 9, 2019 -  [S. 3247]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: >> Women's 
Entrepreneu
rship and 
Economic 
Empowerment

Act of 
2018.
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2151 note.>>  SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic 
Empowerment Act of 2018''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2151-2 note.>>  FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Because women make up the majority of the world's poor 
        and gender inequalities prevail in incomes, wages, access to 
        finance, ownership of assets, and control over the allocation of 
        resources, women's entrepreneurship and economic empowerment is 
        important to achieve inclusive economic growth at all levels of 
        society.
            (2) Research shows that when women exert greater influence 
        over household finances, economic outcomes for families improve, 
        and childhood survival rates, food security, and educational 
        attainment increase. Women also tend to place a greater emphasis 
        on household savings which improves family financial resiliency.
            (3) A 2016 report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated 
        that achieving global gender parity in economic activity could 
        add as much as $28,000,000,000,000 to annual global gross 
        domestic product by 2025.
            (4) Lack of access to financial services that address 
        gender-specific constraints impedes women's economic inclusion. 
        Roughly 1,000,000,000 women around the world are currently left 
        out of the formal financial system, which causes many women to 
        rely on informal means of saving and borrowing that are riskier 
        and less reliable.
            (5) Among other consequences, this lack of access hampers 
        the success of women entrepreneurs, including women who are 
        seeking to run or grow small and medium-sized enterprises. The 
        International Finance Corporation has estimated that 70 percent 
        of women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises in the formal 
        sector are unserved or underserved in terms of access to 
        financial services, resulting in a financing gap of 
        $300,000,000,000 for women-owned small businesses.
            (6) Women's economic empowerment is inextricably linked to a 
        myriad of other women's human rights that are essential

[[Page 132 STAT. 5510]]

        to their ability to thrive as economic actors across the 
        lifecycle, including--
                    (A) living lives free of violence and exploitation;
                    (B) achieving the highest possible standard of 
                health and well-being;
                    (C) enjoying full legal and human rights, such as 
                access to registration, identification, and citizenship 
                documents;
                    (D) benefitting from formal and informal education;
                    (E) equal protection of and access to land and 
                property rights;
                    (F) access to fundamental labor rights;
                    (G) policies to address disproportionate care 
                burdens; and
                    (H) business and management skills and leadership 
                opportunities.
            (7) Discriminatory legal and regulatory systems and banking 
        practices are obstacles to women's access to capital and assets, 
        including land, machinery, production facilities, technology, 
        and human resources. These barriers are often connected to a 
        woman's marital status, which can determine whether she is able 
        to inherit land or own property in her name. These constraints 
        contribute to women frequently running smaller businesses, with 
        fewer employees and lower asset values.
            (8) Savings groups primarily comprised of women are 
        recognized as a vital entry point, especially for poor and very 
        poor women, to formal financial services. There is a high demand 
        for such groups to protect and grow the savings of women with 
        formal financial institutions.
            (9) Evidence shows that, once a saving group is linked to a 
        bank, the average savings per member increases between 40 to 100 
        percent and the average profit per member doubles. Investing in 
        financial literacy, business leadership training, and mentorship 
        are key elements to these outcomes.
            (10) United States support for microenterprise and 
        microfinance development programs, which seek to reduce poverty 
        in low-income countries by giving small loans to small-scale 
        entrepreneurs without collateral, have been a useful mechanism 
        to help families weather economic shocks, but many microcredit 
        borrowers largely remain in poverty.
            (11) The vast majority of microcredit borrowers are women 
        who would like to move up the economic ladder, but are held back 
        by binding constraints that create a missing middle - large 
        numbers of microenterprises, a handful of large firms or 
        conglomerates, and very few small and medium-sized enterprises 
        in between, which are critical to driving economic growth in 
        developing countries.
            (12) According to the World Bank, small and medium-sized 
        enterprises create 4 out of 5 new positions in emerging markets, 
        but approximately 50 percent of formal small and medium-sized 
        enterprises lack access to formal credit. The financing gap is 
        even larger when micro and informal enterprises are taken into 
        account. Overall, approximately 70 percent of all micro, small, 
        and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets lack access to 
        credit.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5511]]

SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 22 USC 2151-2.>>  ACTIONS TO IMPROVE THE 
                    INTERNATIONAL GENDER POLICY OF THE UNITED 
                    STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

    (a) Gender Analysis Defined.--In this section, the term ``gender 
analysis''--
            (1) means a socioeconomic analysis of available or gathered 
        quantitative and qualitative information to identify, 
        understand, and explain gaps between men and women which 
        typically involves examining--
                    (A) differences in the status of women and men and 
                their differential access to and control over assets, 
                resources, education, opportunities, and services;
                    (B) the influence of gender roles, structural 
                barriers, and norms on the division of time between paid 
                employment, unpaid work (including the subsistence 
                production and care for family members), and volunteer 
                activities;
                    (C) the influence of gender roles, structural 
                barriers, and norms on leadership roles and decision 
                making; constraints, opportunities, and entry points for 
                narrowing gender gaps and empowering women; and
                    (D) potential differential impacts of development 
                policies and programs on men and women, including 
                unintended or negative consequences; and
            (2) includes conclusions and recommendations to enable 
        development policies and programs to narrow gender gaps and 
        improve the lives of women and girls.

    (b) International Development Cooperation Policy.--It shall be the 
international development cooperation policy of the United States--
            (1) to reduce gender disparities with respect to economic, 
        social, political, educational, and cultural resources, wealth, 
        opportunities, and services;
            (2) to strive to eliminate gender-based violence and 
        mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities 
        including through efforts to develop standards and capacity to 
        reduce gender-based violence in the workplace and other places 
        where women work;
            (3) to support activities that secure private property 
        rights and land tenure for women in developing countries, 
        including--
                    (A) legal frameworks that give women equal rights to 
                own, register, use, profit from, and inherit land and 
                property;
                    (B) improving legal literacy to enable women to 
                exercise the rights described in subparagraph (A); and
                    (C) improving the capacity of law enforcement and 
                community leaders to enforce such rights;
            (4) to increase the capability of women and girls to fully 
        exercise their rights, determine their life outcomes, assume 
        leadership roles, and influence decision-making in households, 
        communities, and societies; and
            (5) to improve the access of women and girls to education, 
        particularly higher education opportunities in business, 
        finance, and management, in order to enhance financial literacy 
        and business development, management, and strategy skills.

    (c) Actions.--In order to advance the policy described in subsection 
(b), the Administrator of the United States Agency for International 
Development shall ensure that--

[[Page 132 STAT. 5512]]

            (1) strategies, projects, and activities of the Agency are 
        shaped by a gender analysis;
            (2) standard indicators are used to assess such strategies, 
        projects, and activities, if applicable; and
            (3) gender equality and female empowerment are integrated 
        throughout the Agency's program cycle and related processes for 
        purposes of strategic planning, project design and 
        implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
SEC. 4. DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR MICRO, SMALL, AND MEDIUM-SIZED 
                    ENTERPRISES.

    (a) Findings and Policy.--Section 251 of the Foreign Assistance Act 
of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)--
                    (A) by striking ``microenterprise'' and inserting 
                ``micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises'';
                    (B) by striking ``and in the development'' and 
                inserting ``, in the development''; and
                    (C) by inserting ``, and in the economic empowerment 
                of the poor, especially women'' before the period at the 
                end;
            (2) in paragraph (2)--
                    (A) by striking ``microenterprise'' and inserting 
                ``micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises''; and
                    (B) by inserting ``, particularly enterprises owned, 
                managed, and controlled by women'' before the period at 
                the end;
            (3) in paragraph (3), by striking ``microenterprises'' and 
        inserting ``micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises'';
            (4) in paragraph (4), by striking ``microenterprise'' and 
        inserting ``micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise'';
            (5) in paragraph (5)--
                    (A) by striking ``should continue'' and inserting 
                ``should continue and be expanded''; and
                    (B) by striking ``microenterprise and microfinance 
                development assistance'' and inserting ``development 
                assistance for micro, small, and medium-sized 
                enterprises''; and
            (6) in paragraph (6)--
                    (A) by striking ``have been successful'' and 
                inserting ``have had some success'';
                    (B) by striking ``microenterprise programs should'' 
                and inserting ``development assistance for micro, small, 
                and medium-sized enterprises should''; and
                    (C) by striking ``, such as countries in Latin 
                America''.

    (b) Authorization; Implementation; Targeted Assistance.--Section 252 
of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211a) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a)--
                    (A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by 
                striking ``credit, savings, and other services to 
                microfinance and microenterprise clients'' and inserting 
                ``credit, including the use of innovative credit scoring 
                models, savings, financial technology, financial 
                literacy, education, insurance, property rights, and 
                other services to micro, small, and medium-sized 
                enterprise clients'';
                    (B) in paragraph (1), by striking ``microfinance and 
                microenterprise clients'' and inserting ``micro, small, 
                and

[[Page 132 STAT. 5513]]

                medium-sized enterprise clients, particularly clients 
                owned, managed, and controlled by women'';
                    (C) in paragraph (2), by striking 
                ``microenterprises'' and inserting ``micro, small, and 
                medium-sized enterprises'';
                    (D) in paragraph (3)--
                          (i) by striking ``microfinance and 
                      microenterprise institutions'' and inserting 
                      ``financial intermediaries'';
                          (ii) by striking ``microfinance and 
                      microenterprise clients'' and inserting ``micro, 
                      small, and medium-sized enterprises''; and
                          (iii) by striking ``and'' at the end;
                    (E) in paragraph (4)--
                          (i) by striking ``microfinance and 
                      microenterprise clients and institutions'' and 
                      inserting ``micro, small, and medium-sized 
                      enterprises, financial intermediaries, and capital 
                      markets''; and
                          (ii) by striking ``the poor and very poor.'' 
                      and inserting ``the poor and very poor, especially 
                      women;''; and
                    (F) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) assistance for the purpose of promoting the economic 
        empowerment of women, including through increased access to 
        financial resources and improving property rights, inheritance 
        rights, and other legal protections; and
            ``(6) assistance for the purpose of scaling up evidence-
        based graduation approaches, which include targeting the very 
        poor and households in ultra-poverty, consumption support, 
        promotion of savings, financial literacy, skills training, and 
        asset transfers.'';
            (2) in subsection (b)--
                    (A) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:
            ``(1) In general.--There is authorized to be established 
        within the Agency an office to support the Agency's efforts to 
        broaden and deepen local financial markets, expand access to 
        appropriate financial products and services, and support the 
        development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The 
        Office shall be headed by a Director who shall possess technical 
        expertise and ability to offer leadership in the field of 
        financial sector development.'';
                    (B) in paragraph (2)--
                          (i) by amending subparagraph (B) to read as 
                      follows:
                    ``(B) Use of central funding 
                mechanisms <<NOTE: Coordination.>> .--In order to ensure 
                that assistance under this title is distributed 
                effectively and efficiently, the office shall provide 
                coordination and support for field-implemented programs, 
                including through targeted core support for micro, 
                small, and medium-sized enterprises and local financial 
                markets.''; and
                          (ii) in subparagraph (C), in the matter 
                      preceding clause (i)--
                                    (I) by inserting ``, particularly by 
                                protecting the use and funding of local 
                                organizations in countries in which the 
                                Agency invests,'' after ``and 
                                sustainability''; and
                                    (II) by inserting ``, especially 
                                women'' after ``the poor and very 
                                poor''; and
                    (C) by striking paragraph (3); and

[[Page 132 STAT. 5514]]

            (3) in subsection (c), by striking ``subsection (a), 50 
        percent of all microenterprise resources'' and all that follows 
        and inserting the following: ``subsection (a)--
            ``(1) 50 percent of all micro, small, and medium-sized 
        enterprise resources shall be targeted to activities that reach 
        the very poor; and
            ``(2) 50 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprise 
        resources shall be targeted to activities that reach enterprises 
        owned, managed, and controlled by women.''.

    (c) Monitoring System.--Section 253(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act 
of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211b(b)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``, including goals on a 
        gender disaggregated basis, such as improvements in employment, 
        access to financial services, education, enterprise development, 
        earnings and control over income, and property and land 
        rights,'' after ``performance goals'';
            (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``include performance 
        indicators to be used in measuring or assessing the 
        achievement'' and inserting ``incorporate Agency planning and 
        reporting processes and indicators to measure or assess the 
        achievement''; and
            (3) by striking paragraph (4).

    (d) Poverty Measurement Methods.--Section 254 of the Foreign 
Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211c) is amended to read as follows:
``SEC. 254. POVERTY MEASUREMENT METHODS.

     <<NOTE: Consultation.>> ``The Administrator of the Agency, in 
consultation with financial intermediaries and other appropriate 
organizations, should have in place at least 1 method for implementing 
partners to use to assess poverty levels of their current incoming or 
prospective clients.''.

    (e) Additional Authorities.--Section 255 of the Foreign Assistance 
Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211d) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``assistance for microenterprise development 
        assistance'' and inserting ``development assistance for micro, 
        small, and medium-sized enterprises''; and
            (2) by striking ``and, to the extent applicable'' and all 
        that follows and inserting a period.

    (f) Microenterprise Development Credits.--Section 256 of the Foreign 
Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2212) is amended--
            (1) in the section heading, by striking ``microenterprise 
        development credits'' and inserting ``development credits for 
        micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises'';
            (2) in subsection (a)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``micro- and small 
                enterprises'' and inserting ``micro, small, and medium-
                sized enterprises''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by striking 
                ``microenterprises'' and inserting ``micro, small, and 
                medium-sized enterprises'';
            (3) in subsection (b)--
                    (A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by 
                striking ``microenterprise households lacking full 
                access to credit'' and inserting ``micro, small, and 
                medium-sized enterprises and households lacking full 
                access to credit and other financial services''; and

[[Page 132 STAT. 5515]]

                    (B) in paragraphs (1) and (2), by striking 
                ``microfinance institutions'' each place such term 
                appears and inserting ``financial intermediaries'';
            (4) in subsection (c), in the matter preceding paragraph 
        (1), by striking ``microfinance institutions'' and inserting 
        ``financial intermediaries''; and
            (5) in subsections (c) and (d), by striking 
        ``microenterprise households'' each place such term appears and 
        inserting ``micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and 
        households''.

    (g) United States Microfinance Loan Facility.--Section 257 of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2213) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a)--
                    (A) by striking ``Administrator'' and inserting 
                ``President'';
                    (B) by striking ``United States-supported 
                microfinance institutions'' and inserting ``United 
                States-supported financial intermediaries''; and
            (2) in subsection (b)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``United States-
                supported microfinance institutions'' each place such 
                term appears and inserting ``United States-supported 
                financial intermediaries''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``microfinance 
                institutions'' and inserting ``financial 
                intermediaries''.

    (h) Contents of Report.--Section 258(b) of the Foreign Assistance 
Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2214(b)) is amended to read as follows:
    ``(b) Contents.--To the extent practicable, the report submitted 
under subsection (a) should contain the following:
            ``(1) Information about assistance provided under section 
        252, including--
                    ``(A) the amount of each grant or other form of 
                assistance;
                    ``(B) the name and type of each intermediary and 
                implementing partner organization receiving assistance;
                    ``(C) the name of each country receiving assistance; 
                and
                    ``(D) the methodology used to ensure compliance with 
                the targeted assistance requirements under subsection 
                (c) of such section.
            ``(2) The percentage of assistance provided under section 
        252, disaggregated by income level, including for the very poor, 
        and by gender.
            ``(3) The estimated number of individuals that received 
        assistance under section 252, disaggregated by income level (or 
        an appropriate proxy for income level, including for the very 
        poor), by gender, and by type of assistance.
            ``(4) The results of the monitoring system required under 
        section 253.
            ``(5) Information about any method in place to assess 
        poverty levels under section 254.''.

    (i) Definitions.--Section 259 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 
(22 U.S.C. 2214a) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``Committee on 
        International Relations of the House of Representatives'' and 
        inserting ``Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives'';

[[Page 132 STAT. 5516]]

            (2) in paragraph (4), by striking ``microenterprises'' and 
        inserting ``micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises'';
            (3) in paragraph (6)--
                    (A) in subparagraph (E), by striking 
                ``microenterprise institution'' and inserting ``micro, 
                small, or medium-sized enterprise institution''; and
                    (B) in subparagraph (F), by striking ``microfinance 
                institution'' and inserting ``financial intermediary'';
            (4) by striking paragraphs (7) and (8) and inserting the 
        following:
            ``(7) Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise 
        institution.--The term `micro, small, and medium-sized 
        enterprise institution' means an entity that provides services, 
        including finance, training, or business development services, 
        for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in foreign 
        countries.
            ``(8) Financial intermediary.--The term `financial 
        intermediary' means the entity that acts as the intermediary 
        between parties in a financial transaction, such as a bank, 
        credit union, investment fund, a village savings and loan group, 
        or an institution that provides financial services to a micro, 
        small, or medium-sized enterprise.'';
            (5) by striking paragraph (9);
            (6) by redesignating paragraphs (10) through (14) as 
        paragraphs (9) through (13), respectively;
            (7) in paragraph (9), as redesignated, by striking ``of 
        microenterprise development'';
            (8) by amending paragraph (10), as redesignated, to read as 
        follows:
            ``(10) Practitioner institution.--The term `practitioner 
        institution' means a not-for-profit entity, a financial 
        intermediary, an information and communications technology firm 
        with a mobile money platform, a village and savings loan group, 
        or any other entity that provides financial or business 
        development services authorized under section 252 that benefits 
        micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise clients.'';
            (9) in paragraph (12), as redesignated--
                    (A) in the paragraph heading, by striking ``United 
                states-supported microfinance institution'' and 
                inserting ``United states-supported financial 
                intermediary''; and
                    (B) by striking ``United States-supported 
                microfinance institution'' and inserting ``United 
                States-supported financial intermediary''; and
            (10) in paragraph (13), as redesignated, by amending 
        subparagraph (B) to read as follows:
                    ``(B) living below the international poverty line 
                (as defined by the International Bank for Reconstruction 
                and Development and the International Development 
                Association (collectively referred to as the `World 
                Bank')).''.

    (j) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--Title VI of chapter 2 of 
part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211 et seq.) is 
amended in the title heading by striking ``MICROENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT 
ASSISTANCE'' and inserting ``DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR MICRO, SMALL, 
AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES''.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5517]]

SEC. 5. REPORT AND BRIEFING BY THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR 
                    INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 1 year after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the United States Agency for 
International Development shall provide a briefing and submit a report 
to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate regarding the 
implementation of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, 
including actions to improve the gender policies of the United States 
Agency for International Development pursuant to section 3.
    (b) Public Availability.--The report required under subsection (a) 
shall be posted and made available on a text-based, searchable, and 
publicly-available internet website.
SEC. 6. REPORT BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 2 years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States 
shall submit a report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House 
of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate 
regarding development assistance for micro, small, and medium-sized 
enterprises administered by the United States Agency for International 
Development.
    (b) Matters to Be Included <<NOTE: Assessment.>> .--The report 
required under subsection (a) shall include an assessment of the 
following:
            (1) What is known about the impact of such development 
        assistance on the economies of developing countries.
            (2) The extent to which such development assistance is 
        targeting women and the very poor, including what is known about 
        how such development assistance benefits women.
            (3) The extent to which the United States Agency for 
        International Development has developed a methodology to ensure 
        compliance with the targeted assistance requirement under 
        section 252(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended 
        by section 4(b)(3), and the quality of such methodology.
            (4) The monitoring system required under section 253(b) of 
        the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended by section

[[Page 132 STAT. 5518]]

        4(c), including the quality, appropriateness, and feasibility of 
        such monitoring system.

    Approved January 9, 2019.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 3247 (H.R. 5480):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 115-718 (Comm. on Foreign Affairs) accompanying  
H.R. 5480.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            Dec. 19, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 21, considered and passed House.

                                  <all>