14 November 2006
Microcredit: Nobel Peace Laureate Yunus Calls for Making Access to Credit a Human Right at Summit
Several new announcements and commitments were made at the Global Microcredit Summit in Halifax today, where lenders and microfinance institutions are gathered to address the fight against poverty.
Nobel Peace Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, called for "creating a more peaceful world through ending poverty, noting that access to credit is a major problem across the world in developed, as well as developing, countries."
Professor Yunus claimed that "despite being one of the richest donors, the World Bank still only spends around one percent of its budget on microcredit. He called on the World Bank to pay earnest attention to the world's poorest people through microcredit."
Ten of the largest microfinance institutions, including BRAC, FINCA International, Opportunity International and the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, pledged to work with the Microcredit Summit Campaign to find and implement methods to measure and report on the progress of their clients in the fight to rise above the dollar-a-day poverty threshold.
"On issues from health to wealth and everything in between, the world continually fails the poorest people," said Sam Daley-Harris, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign. "As we set bold goals and introduce new innovations in microcredit we must be absolutely sure that we are reaching the poorest people and we could not be happier that ten of the world's premier microfinance institutions have pledged to do just that."
The Grameen Foundation also announced the launch of a software initiative called Mifos, to address the microfinance industry’s information management challenge. The Mifos Initiative delivers an open source information management system for the global microfinance industry via a collaborative development and support community.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and FINCA International announced a new multi-million dollar expansion of rural lending in Afghanistan. The program is designed to foster economic stability by enabling rural Afghans to start small businesses. USAID will provide a grant of US$10 million to FINCA International to open five new branches and increase client outreach to 45,500 in several Afghan provinces.
"The initiatives launched today will take microcredit to the next level," said Mr. Daley-Harris. "What started with a few dollars in loans in a Bangladeshi village more than three decades ago has transformed into the foundation upon which we will build the Museums of Poverty."
And finally, Prime Minister Driss Jettou of Morocco sent a message to Summit delegates expressing his government's support for their important work: "The Microcredit Summit Campaign has played a determining role in the worldwide success of microfinance." Prime Minister Jettou was unable to attend the Summit due to previous commitments.
For information: Microcredit Summit Campaign
For information on the Halifax Summit go to: Global Microcredit Summit 2006
Categories: poverty, changemakers, microcredit, microfinance, innovation, social entrepreneurs