Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Microcredit an opportunity for the poor

COTE D'IVOIRE: Rural Women in Need of a Helping Hand
By Fulgence Zamblé
ABIDJAN - From morning, Thérèse Allangba starts checking on members of the Cooperative of Women Farmers of Marahoué (Coopérative des femmes exploitantes agricoles de la Marahoué, COOFEEAMA), based in Bouaflé, capital of the Ivorian region of Marahoué. These women work in teams of five to supply leading markets with food.

MIGRATION-PORTUGAL: Starting a New Life With Microcredit
By Mario de Queiroz
LISBON - Starting one's own business on borrowed money is no easy task in Portugal for an unemployed or retired person, or one lacking advanced professional qualifications, even if the loan is small and payable in instalments.

DEVELOPMENT-BENIN: A Blow Against Poverty
By Michée Boko
COTONOU - Benin is hoping that a five-year, multi-million-dollar grant from the United States under the auspices of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) will finance development projects to reduce poverty, notably through resolving land ownership and credit problems.

DEVELOPMENT: Microcredit Not Just For "Poor" Countries
By Enrique Gili
SAN DIEGO, California - In a conservative industry focused on the bottom line, Patti Mason doesn't sound like your ordinary bank president. The former airline accountant turned banker is animated while discussing the merits of commerce as a form of economic empowerment.

DEVELOPMENT: Microcredit Summit Hopes to Kickstart MDGs
By Haider Rizvi
UNITED NATIONS - Hundreds of financial experts and activists are due to gather in the Canadian city of Halifax next weekend to explore new ways of helping the world's rural poor with small business loans.

ASIA: Workers' Remittances as Development Funds?
By Marwaan Macan-Markar
BANGKOK - Migrant rights activists are eyeing a regional conference starting here Monday to secure more protection for the frequently victimised overseas labour force. It comes as governments here, as elsewhere, are warming up to convert the millions being sent home by migrant workers for local development programmes.

CHINA: For Microcredit to Work Gov't Must Butt Out - Yunus
By Antoaneta Bezlova
BEIJING - Celebrating the success of microfinance as an antidote to poverty has raised some uncomfortable questions here over China's reluctance to allow civil society a bigger role in addressing tough social issues.

DEVELOPMENT-AFRICA: Few "Positions Vacant" for the Young
By Joyce Mulama
NAIROBI - A billion young people aged 15 to 24 unemployed, 85 percent of them in developing countries -- with several hundred million more expected to enter the job market by the end of the decade: grim statistics indeed. However, a recent conference offered some ideas as to how they could be addressed.

DEVELOPMENT: Remittances Do More Than Investments
By Sanjay Suri
LONDON - The British are not investing a great deal in the developing world, but remittances from Britain are emerging as a growing counter to poverty, a new survey shows.

COLOMBIA: Displaced Women Build New Lives, Brick by Brick
By Gloria Helena Rey
CARTAGENA, Colombia - "The City of Women", in the northern Colombian municipality of Turbaco, 11 kilometres from the fortified walls of this tourist resort city, bears no resemblance to Federico Fellini's 1980 film by the same name, or to the similarly dubbed Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Puerto Madero, where almost all the streets and public spaces are named for famous women.

VENEZUELA: Gov't Distributes Petrodollars Through Booming Cooperative Movement
By Humberto Márquez
CARACAS - Cooperatives in Venezuela, which are mushrooming at a rate of over 100 a day, have become a mechanism through which the government is distributing windfall oil profits to the people.

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