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#367317 - 02/12/10 03:31 PM Credit Unions provide micro-financing for 15,000
Marty Offline

Credit Unions to provide micro-financing for 15,000 households

BRFPPlanning for the Belize Rural Finance Program has been in the works for the past two years. And finally today in Belmopan, the Belize Credit Union League and the government announced that they are ready to implement micro financing to at least fifteen thousand households in rural areas to the tune of six million dollars. News Five Delahnie Bain was in the capital today for the announcement.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The recent Country Poverty Assessment resulted in dismal revelations about how much of the population is considered poor. The first attempt to turn around poverty comes in the form of the Belize Rural Finance Programme, which seeks to equip credit unions to provide micro financing to low income people.

Ervin Perez, Program Manager, BRFP

“When you look at improving or reducing poverty, you’re really looking at improving the lives and income of the poor and near poor in Belize. And we believe that we can achieve this by designing and developing a permanent sustainable access to a wide range of financial services and we continue to emphasize financial services because while credit is critical to a micro entrepreneur, it is also equally critical to be able to save.”

Marco Camagni

Marco Camagni

Marco Camagni, Country Program Mgr., IFAD

“We are expecting to reach approximately fifteen thousand households in the rural areas, which is large portion of the population of the rural areas over a seven year lifespan all over the country.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Poverty seems to be concentrated to a very great extent in rural areas, spread out over rural areas in this country so the idea of starting with a micro-finance program to concentrate on access to credit being provided to rural communities. I think it’s very important. It obviously is designed to be a poverty alleviation tool; one of the ways in which we can combat the trends that the CPA has confirmed of increasing poverty in this country.”

And while it is generally geared toward residents of rural areas, country program manager for International Fund for Agricultural Development explains that there are specific groups being targeted.

Marco Camagni

“This program has a very specific target, which is men, women and youth and many ethnic groups. The program is targeting everybody in the rural areas. The objective is to increase the income and the assets of these people by helping them to expand their access to financial services.”

Ervin Perez

Ervin Perez

Ervin Perez

“There is an emphasis on assistance or recruitment of women as members of the Credit Unions and the youths. Why women? Because again and again it has been shown in micro financing that a dollar invested in the hands of a woman in the home provides much better results in terms of the home, the family, quality of life.”

The BRFP is funded by the IFAD and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and the Belize Credit Union League has been tasked with handling its day to day operations.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We are the ones that have secured the funding from CABEI and IFAD. The idea will be to try to provide the legal infrastructure that can help with the development of this type of idea; this new approach to trying to provide access to the rural core and the idea will be as well to try to increase the capital that’s involved in the program.”

Corine Robinson Fuller, Executive Director, BCUL

“It is the Program Management Unit that will be coordinating the program and they are housed at the leagues office and we will collaborate with each other because the league is the association of all the Credit unions so we will be the place from where the program itself will be implemented.”

According to executive director for the credit union league, Corine Robinson Fuller, for those who make to the creditors, they will come to you.

Corine Robinson Fuller

Corine Robinson Fuller

Corine Robinson Fuller

“The BRFP will provide individual poor people with assistance, with access to credit and it will be the Credit Unions themselves who will get out there, meet with people, share the benefits of the program and encourage them to join and so on. Part of the program is educating poor people about financial literacy, about planning and budgeting, and I am particularly excited about that part of the program because I feel that anybody with a little bit of planning, they can achieve their goals.”

The first phase of the program will focus on training and developments in the credit unions, which means that full benefits to members won’t come until later this year. But as their logo says, it is all in an effort to give life to dreams and aspirations. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


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#367735 - 02/15/10 04:30 PM Re: Credit Unions provide micro-financing for 15,000 [Re: Marty]
Nick Barton Offline
Excellent news! I am a great fan of the role microfinance does play in helping the poor (particularly women)establish their own businesses and thereby help generate funds for the family as long as it is sympathetically and efficiently delivered!

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