RIYADH: ABDUL HANNAN TAGO | Arab News staff
Published — Sunday 5 May 2013
Last update 5 May 2013 6:20 am
The Philippines is the venue for the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit later this year.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign, a project of Results Educational Fund, in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI), announced the holding of the summit from Oct. 9-11.
The “Partnerships against Poverty” is the slogan, set by the Microcredit Campaign for the Philippines summit, representing a well-established principle in the strategy of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), which is headed by Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, according to an AGFUND statement yesterday.
With support from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the Central Bank of the Philippines), this will be the 16th summit organized by the campaign, and some 1,100 participants from around the world will convene at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila.
The 2013 Microcredit Summit will focus on “Partnerships against Poverty: Finance, Government, Business, and Civil Society.”
Participants will delve into some of the most advanced and successful examples of public-private partnerships (PPP) in the microfinance field, while bringing together the relevant parties that can work together to elevate these programs to a large scale, including government regulators, microfinance practitioners, product design experts, providers of support services, and heads of institutional multinational banks.
“Governments, microfinance institutions, businesses, and NGOs can facilitate the long journey out of poverty by providing the full range of products and services that clients need to address their vulnerabilities and take advantage of opportunities,” said Microcredit Summit Campaign Director Larry Reed.
“This summit will focus on the best examples of partnerships that benefit those living in severe poverty. By bringing together stakeholders from a variety of different development sectors, we hope to catalyze the growth of public-private partnerships that serve the poor.”
The 2013 Microcredit Summit comes at a critical time with just two years left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
It is estimated that, at the current rate of progress, around 1 billion people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2015 and that, today, nearly 2.6 billion people in the world have no access to formal financial services.
Microfinance providers work to reduce this gap and to offer non-financial services to help improve the lives of families around the world.
They have the ability to effectively deliver education, business development services, and health services to the poorest, especially to women, living in rural areas of the world. When combined with savings, loans, and insurance, these interventions are powerful tools in the fight against global poverty.
“Clients tell us they need education for their children, health care for their family, decent housing, and regular, nutritious meals,” said Professor Muhammad Yunus.
“This should be the focus of our work at this upcoming summit and in the years ahead.”
The campaign has chosen the Philippines as the host country for its excellent performance in microfinance as well as for its recognition of public-private partnerships as a development strategy that leads to inclusive economic growth and creates new opportunities that can significantly reduce poverty.
In the light of the goals aimed at eradicating poverty, particularly in the less fortunate developing countries, and the need to reach out to the vulnerable groups of women, children and people with disabilities, AGFUND, a major organization in the field of supporting sustainable human development with a focus on the eradication of poverty, has responded in a practical manner to the Millennium first development goal.
This goal was called for in the Millennium Summit, organized by the UN and attended by world leaders in September 2000.
AGFUND’s response was manifested in developing its strategy by embracing the support of microcredit activities as a first priority in its financing processes over the last 9 years.
AGFUND has succeeded in achieving a great deal to support this goal and meet its requirements by supporting microfinance institutions in developing countries, supporting regional microcredit conferences, and participating in their preparation both in Africa and the Arab world.
This was especially so in the microcredit conference in the Middle East and Africa, which was held in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in October 2004 in partnership with the Microcredit Summit.
AGFUND also participated in the Nairobi Summit and in one in Spain.
AGFUND founded seven banks and microfinance institutions in Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, and Sudan. These banks, which take the name of ‘Ibda’ (creativity), are the most prominent in industry in the Arab region. More than one million and two hundred poor citizens, i.e. 250,000 families in the Arab world and Africa, have benefited from these banks. Thus, AGFUND banks for the poor contribute to securing new business opportunities, and thereby reduce the unemployment rate.