November 14, 2006 14:12 ET

RESULTS Canada: As Microcredit Summit Comes to Canada, CIDA's Support of Microcredit Declines

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 14, 2006) - As more than 2000 people from around the globe gather in Halifax to celebrate the benefits of microcredit, a CIDA representative confirms that financial support for microcredit announced at the Summit is only a reshuffling of existing funds.

At the opening ceremony of the Global Microcredit Summit, Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced $40 million in funding over several years for microcredit. Not only is this announcement an extension of existing funds, overall it represents a fifty per cent reduction of funding over the past five years.

CIDA representative Bronwyn Cruden confirmed Sunday that the announced money will fall within the existing annual spending of $32 million.

This commitment represents a decrease in real terms from earlier years. In parallel, Canada's overall support for international development has increased substantially in the last five years.

Blaise Salmon, President of RESULTS Canada, an anti-poverty advocacy organization that has been steadily pushing for an increase in Microcredit funding, especially when targeted to the poorest, responded to this news with disappointment.

"It is unconscionable that Peter MacKay would stand in front of Queen Sophia of Spain, Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus and more than 2000 microcredit practitioners and play shell games with the world's poor. Of the $1 billion extra that CIDA received over the past five years, not one cent of it will go to microcredit. This confirms that microcredit, as a share of CIDA's budget, will have decreased by half in this millennium. So much for Canada's commitment to the Millennium Development Goals; so much for government transparency."

RESULTS Canada called on the government to ramp up its support for this proven poverty reduction tool.

RESULTS Canada is a citizens' action group committed to creating the political will to end poverty and hunger around the world.

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