The consultative Group to assist the poorest (CGAP) was created by Ismail Serageldin, as a follow up to another major activity which he organized: The International Conference on Overcoming Global Hunger, Hosted by the World Bank and Held at the American University in Washington DC. Held in December 1993 in Washington, it brought together world leaders, academics, and activist practitioners to work together on the needs to eliminate hunger. One of the promising avenues that emerged from that conference was to seek all possible ways to empower the poor to take charge of their own destinies. Micro-finance was deemed as a worthy tool to do so.
By March 1995, Serageldin obtained from the Board of the World Bank the authorization for the Bank to participate in a collaboration with others to organize more systematically international assistance for the providers of micro-finance services aiming to reach more poor people and to reach deeper among the poorest. CGAP was the result.
CGAP was formally created in June of 1995, and Ismail Serageldin was elected its first chairman. It comprises all the international public providers of finance for Micro-finance Institutions, and is guided by a group of distinguished practitioners. called the policy advisory Group (PAG), the first chairman of which was Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh (1995-1998), and continues as member of the PAG in 1998-99, supporting Kimanthi Mutua of K-REP of Kenya, his successor as chair of the PAG. Ismail Serageldin was reelected for a second Term as Chairman of CGAP in 1998.