Microcredit Summit Campaign

Microcredit Summit Campaign

November 01, 2006 09:00 ET

Microloans Championed by Nobel Laureate Top 110 Million

New Campaign Goals to Be Launched at Global Summit in Halifax

WASHINGTON, DC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 1, 2006) - Three weeks after the Nobel Committee announced that Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the bank he founded thirty years ago won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Microcredit Summit announced that more than 113 million clients received tiny loans last year to start or expand small businesses, 82 million of whom were among the world's poorest people. The Nobel Laureate and Grameen Bank founder serves on the Microcredit Summit Campaign's Executive Committee.

The Campaign's annual report provides a crucial benchmark for the growth of the field. The Microcredit Summit sought to reach 100 million of the world's poorest families with microcredit by the end of 2005, a goal it now expects to reach by the end of 2006. The Report also sets the stage for the upcoming gathering in Halifax, November 12-15, when Muhammad Yunus will join 2000 delegates from more than 100 countries at the Global Microcredit Summit.

The Campaign was launched in 1997, when only 7.6 million very poor families were reached worldwide with microloans. Between 1997 and 2005 the Campaign's overall growth has been 978 percent, averaging 34 percent per year. Globally, 847 microfinance practitioners submitted their data in 2006. These 847 institutions had 88 percent of all the poorest clients reported.

The 2006 report includes data gathered from more than 3,100 institutions worldwide and finds that of the 82 million poorest reached, 84 percent are women. Campaign officials spoke of how the microloans touch entire families by improving nutrition, access to healthcare, and school enrollment. "The loans to 82 million poorest clients affected 410 million family members," said Campaign Director, Sam Daley-Harris, "a number greater than the combined populations of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These microloans are giving hope to hundreds of millions of people around the world."

Loans are used for a wide range of business activities including low-tech ventures such as selling milk and eggs, making tortillas, or producing handicrafts, as well as high-tech enterprises like selling solar-powered cellular phone time in rural areas without land-line phone service.

When asked about national level impact, Campaign officials point to Bangladesh, the world's most saturated microfinance market and Muhammad Yunus' base of operation. "Thirty-five years after its war of independence," said Daley-Harris, "and 30 years since the first microloans were made to 42 desperately poor individuals, the 20 largest microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Bangladesh reach 21 million clients affecting 105 million family members in a country of 140 million. According to UNICEF, the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births has fallen from 239 per thousand in 1970 to just 77 per thousand in 2004 and the fertility rate in Bangladesh has fallen from 6.4 in 1970 to 3.2 in 2004."

"Bangladesh has already reached the Millennium Development Goal on gender parity at the primary and secondary educational levels," continued Daley-Harris, "11 years ahead of schedule."

In less than two weeks, in Halifax, Phase II of the Campaign will be launched with two new goals for 2015: 1) reaching 175 million of the world's poorest families with microcredit, affecting 875 million family members and 2) ensuring 100 million families rise above the US$1 a day threshold, lifting 500 million people out of extreme poverty.

The Microcredit Summit Campaign is a program of the US-based anti-poverty group RESULTS Educational Fund and is supported by RESULTS affiliates around the world, including RESULTS Canada.

The Global Microcredit Summit will take place in Halifax from November 12-15. For media accreditation, please contact Dalia Palchik at: palchik@microcreditsummit.org.

Contact Information

  • Microcredit Summit Campaign
    Dalia Palchik
    (w) (202) 637-9600 ext. 125
    (m) (617) 515-5059