Microfinance Briefing at UN


DPI/NGO Relations invites you to the
“Microfinance: Ending Poverty One Loan at a Time”Date: Thursday, 10 February 2011
Time: 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Location: North Lawn Building, Conference Room 6

Background Information

“One day our grandchildren will go to museums
to see what poverty was like.” -Muhammad Yunus

In 1976 in Jobra, Bangladesh, economics Professor Muhammad Yunus noticed the disproportionate impact that a simple $27 loan could make to an impoverished family.  Motivated to do something to address this issue and do his bit to eradicate poverty he went on to create the Grameen Bank which made small loans available to low-income clients who traditionally lacked access to banking and related services. His work on developing micro-credit into an every more important instrument in the struggle against poverty spread beyond the borders of his native Bangladesh and eventually won him a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts “to create economic and social development from below” and help to promote democracy and human rights. We are fortunate enough that we can simply go to a website for our loans. While these micro credit  provides credit services to the poor, microfinance, the topic of today’s Briefing, offers a broader category of services,  to as many poor and near-poor households as possible, giving them the opportunity to  have “permanent access to an appropriate range of high quality financial services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, and fund transfers.
[Robert Peck Christen, Richard Rosenberg & Veena Jayadeva. Financial institutions with a double-bottom line: implications for the future of microfinance. CGAP Occasional Paper, July 2004, pp. 2-3.]Microfinance is an important contributor to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) in particular the goals of ending poverty and hunger, increasing universal access to education, and improving health services.  Progress achieved as a result of microfinance services was highlighted in the 2009 UN MDG Report. Some of the successes highlighted included increased enrolment in primary education in developing nations (88 per cent in 2007, up from 83 per cent in 2000). According to the Report, the number of deaths of children under the age of five has also declined steadily worldwide — to approximately 9 million in 2007, down from 12.6 million in 1990.. Use of microfinance services has also contributed significantly to global progress in moving closer to actually meeting the target of eradicating poverty.  Success can also be seen in data from Mix Market, the number one source for financial and social performance data on microfinance institutions, which finds that the rate of return on borrowed money is 97%.

Although the number of the world’s poor people, as reported by the World Bank, has dropped from 1.3 billion to just less than one billion in the last decade, there is still much more work to be done.   A recent study by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has found that, “Despite the rapid growth of the microfinance industry in the past ten years, it is estimated that between two and three billion people still lack access to a broad range of financial products and services on a sustainable basis.”   Today’s Briefing will look at the history of microfinance, its role in alleviating poverty, what the UN and others have done in support of the poor, and the what NGOS, civil society and the private sector can still
do to end poverty.

All Briefings begin promptly at 10:15 a.m. and we ask that our audience be seated by 10:00 a.m. sharp.

María Luisa Chávez; Chief, NGO Relations, Department of Public Information (DPI)


Mr. John Tucker, Deputy Director of the United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations Development Program

Dr. Ira Lieberman, President of Lipam International Inc.

Ms. Deborah Drake, Vice President, Center for Financial Inclusion, ACCION International (invited)

Dr. Todd Watkins, Director of Microfinance Program and Professor of Economics at Lehigh University

The venue for the weekly Briefings will be provided as soon as the information is available.  United Nations-produced videos relevant to the theme of the Briefing are sometimes screened during the session.  For Briefing information please call the DPI/NGO Resource Centre at +1-212-963-7232 / 7233 / 7234 or e-mail dpingo.briefings@un.org. To receive the Briefing information electronically, please email dpingo.briefings@un.org. You may also visit the DPI/NGO Relations Cluster website at http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection, where archived web casts and audio (both, when available) of the Briefing may also be accessed

Requests for guest passes should be faxed on organization letterhead to the DPI/NGO Resource Centre at +1 212-963-2819 or e-mailed to dpingo.briefings@un.org AT LEAST TWO DAYS PRIOR to the Briefing. [Please note that pass requests received at any other email address will not be processed.] All guest passes should be picked up at the DPI/NGO Resource Centre, Room GA-37, on the morning of the Briefing.  NGOs are reminded that the Briefing starts promptly at 10:15 a.m.

Yours Sincerely,

NGO Relations, DPI
United Nations

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