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Events - December 2004

International Year of Microcredit 2005

The UN General Assembly designated the year 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit (resolution 53/197), as microcredits have proven to be an effective mechanism to eradicate poverty.

According to the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the International Year of Microcredit will be an important opportunity to give impetus to microfinance programmes throughout the world. Microfinance refers to loans, savings, insurance, transfer services and other financial products targeted at low-income clients. The International year calls for building inclusive financial sectors and strengthening the powerful, but often untapped entrepreneurial spirit existing in communities around the world. It will also be an opportunity to recognize the contribution of microcredit and microfinance toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, especially the goal of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

The official launching of the year took place on 18 November 2004 with various events organized at UN headquarters in New York and FAO Headquarters in Rome centring on the impact of microfinance in promoting the social and economic welfare of low-income people. During roundtable luncheons sponsored by UNCDF, several UN agencies and partners focused discussions on data collection, rural finance, women and microfinance, and other issues. High level roundtables also took place at UN headquarters in New York where leaders in the microfinance field identified the constraints impeding the growth and sustainability of the microfinance sector as well as the barriers to building inclusive financial sectors.

The Year of Microcredit is not only an opportunity to celebrate the potential of microcredit and microfinance as a powerful tool for poverty eradication, but a time to recognize the social and economic empowerment of low-income people. Many countries in the world have organized activities to be carried out through out the year underlining the positive impact microcredits can have on household budgets and quality of life of people living in developing countries. Several UN agencies have already formulated plans to promote the goals of the year: IFAD organized a pre-launching event at its headquarters in Rome on 15 November and FAO also launched an online learning centre for rural finance on 18 November.

For more information on the International Year of Microcredit 2005 visit the official website.

To view the activities to be carried out during the year in various countries, visit the calendar.

For further information on how to get involved, please click here.