2005, Year of the Micro Credit
When I first heard of micro credit as a means of relieving poverty in the developing world about 10 years ago, I was amazed that anyone could have come up with such a simple and effective solution. It, of course, did not come from the vested financial institutions like banks or the IMF. That would destroy the financial stranglehold these institutions were holding (and still hold) over the less-privileged countries and peoples of this world. Instead it came from non-profit organisations, which were much more trustful of the financial capabilities and sense of responsibilites of even the poorest people. It turned out to be a golden formula: small loans with low interest rates, to be paid back in a year, that could be used to set up a small business, make small investments in agricultural supplies or shop stock, with which produce could be grown or that could be sold for profit; a profit with which the loan could be paid back and from which the whole family would have a small but significant increase in spendable income. Amzingly simple, and amazingly effective.
I'm happy that the UN declared 2005 the Year of the Micro Credit
At work (I work as an IT specialist for a large, Dutch bank in Holland) we are offered the opportunity to sign up to be send out as a micro finance expert. I signed up today, though it's not in the least certain I'm qualified or that I'm needed. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what comes of it.