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  • Delegates from More Than 75 Countries Gather at the Middle East/Africa Microcredit Summit

    21-12-2004 11:00 am More than 650 delegates from more than 75 countries gathered October 10-13, in Amman Jordan for the Middle East/Africa Region Microcredit Summit Meeting of Councils (MEARMS). The meeting was co-organized by the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND), the Jordanian Ministry of Planning, and the Microcredit Summit Campaign. H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan and H.R.H. Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia served as honorary co-chairs.

    Building on the success of the recent Asia/Pacific Region Microcredit Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, delegates from the Middle East, Africa, and around the world gathered in Amman to achieve the Microcredit Summit's goal of reaching 100 million of the world's poorest families, especially the women of those families, with credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the end of 2005.

    MEARMS was dedicated to the promotion of best practices and to fulfilling the Microcredit Summit's four core themes: 1) reaching the poorest, 2) reaching and empowering women, 3) building financially self-sufficient institutions, and 4) ensuring a positive measurable impact on the lives of clients and their families.

    AGFUND has a rather long history in combating poverty together with its partners the United Nations Development Organizations. AGFUND's top priority focuses on supporting NGOs active in micro-credit and on creating banks for the poor.

    During his speech H.R.H. Prince Talal, President of AGFUND, declared: “It goes without saying that the concept of micro-credit, which pushes the poor towards self help and effective participation in the process of improving their own lives, rather than provide them with short-term assistance, is the most effective tool in facing severe poverty. It has been proven that micro-credit can contribute to transforming the lives of the poor to become more human and dignified, as it enables them to take control of their own lives rather than rely on charity.”

    In order to mobilize the necessary resources to make micro-credit work in the Arab region and Africa, H.R.H. Prince Talal also announced the launching of the AGFUND initiative to set up an Arab African Fund for Micro-credit.

    MEARMS will took place only ten weeks before the start of the United Nations International Year of Microcredit in 2005 and was an important lead-up to that year. This gathering and the work of the Microcredit Summit Campaign are pivotal to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially the goal of cutting absolute poverty in half by 2015.

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    Updated:21-12-2004 11:53 am