WASHINGTON November 17, 2006--The World Bank is committed to microcredit, an official said Friday after Nobel Peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus attacked the lender for all but ignoring tiny loans for impoverished people.
Bank director Elizabeth Littlefield rejected Yunus's criticism, at a microcredit summit in Canada this week, that "not even one percent" of the World Bank's total lending goes to microcredit funding.
"That actually is quite a narrow definition of the World Bank's spending in microcredit, it relates only to credit lines on lending to microcredit institutions," she said.
The actual number "could be up to six percent of its total budget, about 1.3 billion dollars, if you use a much broader definition that includes credit lines, policy advice, payment systems, work on regulation and supervision as well."
"I would argue that the actual percentage of money spent in the field of microfinance is not the best measure for the commitment of an organization to building that field," Littlefield added.