María Otero

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María Otero is president & CEO of ACCION International. "Ms. Otero worked as an Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Women in Development Office of USAID prior to joining ACCION. She also worked with the Centre for Development and Population Activities, the Development Group for Alternative Policies, and the Inter-American Foundation." [1]

"Ms. Otero first joined ACCION in 1986 as director of its lending program in Honduras, where she lived for three years. She became president of the organization in 2000.

"Ms. Otero is a leading voice on sustainable microfinance, and has published extensively on the subject, including as co-editor of The New World of Microfinance, published by Kumarian Press. Ms. Otero chairs the board of ACCION Investments, a US$20 million investment company for microfinance, and co-chairs the Microenterprise Coalition. She also serves on the boards of directors of three regulated microfinance institutions in Latin America: Mibanco in Peru, BancoSol in Bolivia and Compartamos in Mexico. Ms. Otero serves on several other boards, including that of the Calvert Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and BRAC Holding of Bangladesh, the largest NGO in the world. She is also coordinator of the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds, which convenes 18 equity investment funds dedicated to microfinance.

"From 1995-2005, Ms. Otero served as the chair of the MicroFinance Network, a global association of 30 leading microfinance institutions. She chaired the board of Bread for the World from 1992-1997. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Ms. Otero to serve as chair of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation, a position she held until January 2000. She has also served in an advisory capacity to the World Bank's Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP).

"Since 1997, Ms. Otero has been an adjunct professor at the John Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2000, she received Hispanic Magazine’s “Latina Excellence Award,” and was also featured in Latina magazine. In 2005, she was profiled in Newsweek’s special report, “How Women Lead” as one of 20 of the most influential women in the United States.

"Maria Otero has an MA in Literature from the University of Maryland and an MA in International/Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS. She was born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, and resides in Washington, DC with her husband and three children." [2]

"Otero was appointed by President Clinton to serve as chair of the Board of the Inter-American Foundation, and has also served on numerous other boards, including Bread for the World and the Women's Leadership Conference. She holds an M.A. in international studies from SAIS. Otero co-teaches Microfinance and Development with Monica Brand.“ [3]

Faculty member of the SAIS International Development Program.

Married to Joseph T. Eldridge.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Advisory Committee, Kumarian Press, accessed December 19, 2007.
  2. Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, accessed March 12, 2008.

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