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Statement of the Advisors Group
to the United Nations International Year of Microcredit 2005
United Nations Forum to Build Inclusive Financial Sectors
United Nations Headquarters, New York
8 November 2005

Micro Finance In India
More loans for India’s poor as reported in The Economist 13/08/2005
Microcredit is flourishing in India reaching 8m-10m households mainly through “Self Help Groups”(SHGs) according to Sa-Dhan, an association of Indian microcredit lenders. These groups are rapidly expanding and typically bring together about 15 women who pool savings for a few months, allocate them to members who need small amounts temporarily, and are then eligible for a bank loan. The Indian government is also introducing measures to further stimulate and promote microfinance institutions to help them act as better intermediaries between banks and borrowers.

They have a lot of work to do though to catch up with their neigbours in Bangladesh. Microcredit is said to be touching 5% of India’s poor but this figure in Bangladesh is much higher with microcredit estimated to be reaching some two thirds if potential borrowers.

India’s technology industry also plays a part in making microcredit accessible to everybody with software packages cutting operating costs however, at the grass roots, in the villages, more work needs to be done to help and advise the borrowers says Ajay Tanha, a Delhi-based microfinance consultant. SHGs will need the government measures promised to ensure that microcredit rescues and does not ruin the poor.

The International Year of the Microcredit

2005 is the International Year of the Microcredit. This important initiative instigated by the United Nations is part of the Millennium Goals and aims to help give the poor a chance to bring themselves, their families and their communities a better life. The goal is to half world poverty between 2000 and 2015! GoodFund supports the initiative taken by the United Nations on this issue and would like to also invite you to be help our global neighbours through our Adopt a Branch Programme.

"The Year of Microcredit will highlight how women's talents and innovation, together with access to credit and savings can give them the power to make long term investments in their families, communities, and their children's lives." Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Emissary for the International Year of Microcredit 2005 Report on Princess Maxima’s visit to East Africa
Her Royal Highness, Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, in the last week of February spent time visiting small and medium scale Enterprises in East Africa. Princess Maxima, a member of the advisory group for the International Year of Micro credit, also paid a working visit to Uganda and Kenya to meet with Ministers and Officials of Finance, Planning and Economic development, the Central Banks, Micro Finance institutions, women entrepreneurs and politicians. The princess was joined at these meeting by the Dutch minister of Development Cooperation, Ms Agnes van Ardenne.

Their meetings focused on development of the financial sector and how finances can be made more accessible to a larger segment of the population through legislation.

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