Microcredit Project for Africa
Individuals in Africa could soon be receiving small loans in support of their business ventures. Photo Credit: Geoff Oliver for Mercy Corps
The G8, the group of eight richest countries in the world, is expected to unveil a "special microfinance initiative" for Africa during its annual summit. Details of the package are being worked out and will be announced when the 33rd G8 summit gets underway in Germany in June.
Donald Kaberuka, the President of the Africa Development Bank (ADB) disclosed this during the 10th anniversary celebration of the association of Rwandan women parliamentarians in Kigali on February 22.
"I have been reliably informed that the upcoming G8 German Presidency is proposing to the G8 and non-G8 a special micro-finance initiative for Africa," Mr Kaberuka said.
He said the Africa Development Bank would support the microfinance fund because of its potential to help Africa change its capacity to fight poverty. "I fully welcome and endorse this initiative and I expect over the coming few months, the African Development Bank as well as the World Bank to collaborate closely with the initiators in conceptualising and targeting the initiative," he said.
The Africa Development Bank will support a microfinance fund because of its potential to help Africa change its capacity to fight poverty.
The two-day conference was attended by Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Paul Kagame as well as Cherie Blair wife to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The theme was Nation Building and The Role of Parliaments. Dr Muhammed Yunus, the Noble Peace winner considered to be the father of microfinance, was also
supposed to have attended the conference.
Mr Kaberuka said the challenge of eliminating poverty will be impossible unless countries can promote "sustained and not volatile economic growth". The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently reported that the target commitment by rich countries to double aid to Africa was off course.
The Kigali conference was also addressed by Valentine Rugwabiza the Deputy Director General at the World Trade Organisation. She asked African leaders to make their case over elimination of farm subsidies to mainly European and American farmers to western audiences. The subsidies have long stood in the way of a global trade agreement.
The challenge of eliminating poverty will be impossible unless countries can promote "sustained and not volatile economic growth".
Ms Rugwabiza described the battle against subsidies as 'not about economics but politics'. "Farmers in Europe and America may be just 5 Percent of the population but they wield a lot of influence," she said.
She, however, suggested that western publics can be persuaded to reject the continuation of subsidies if African leaders can show just how destructive these subsidies are.
"A globalising world is keen on not just who gets what but how it is shared," Ms Rugwabiza said. She argued that if western publics cannot see the havoc created by the subsidies, it could apply pressure for change in favour of becoming more socially responsible.
Contributed by Angelo Izama, a political and investigative reporter for Kampala's Daily Monitor. Reprinted with permission from allAfrica.com. Copyright © 2007 allAfrica.com. All rights reserved.
To read another Global Envision article about philanthropy for the poor, see The Microfinance Moment.
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