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North America, Western Europe

North America, Western Europe

Austria will continue to strengthen microfinance institutions in developing countries through expanding outreach, improving services and efficiency as well support of local, regional and international microfinance networks.

The Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium has officially approved a range of initiatives in support of the Year of Microcredit. Under the direction of his department, a conference of four half-day sessions in February 2005 will examine the challenge of building financial sectors that may integrate people that have historically been excluded. Among the three substantive initiatives to follow the conference, is a partnership with a West African country that reflects the theme and goals of the Year. A launch event will also be held in Belgium in November 2004.

Belgian National Committee
Charles Tollenaere
Directorate General for Development Co-operation
Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade & Development Co-operation
Brederodestraat, 6
B - 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: 32 2 519 06 26, Fax: 32 2 519 06 83
Email: Charles.Tollenaere@diplobel.fed.be

France’s current policy and action involves capacity building of MFIs, development of partnerships, increasing the collaboration between MFIs and banks, and strengthening of the institutional and professional environment of the microfinance sector. In addition to continuing its present work, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to contribute to further strengthening of the microfinance sector, especially in countries emerging from crises.

In Germany, activities will focus on the interlinkages between microfinance and economic development. In collaboration with civil society organizations, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development is planning a number of activities, including: joint high-level events involving relevant implementing agencies, the Federal Ministries and banking institutions; a meeting on "New partnerships for innovation in microfinance" together with an international organization; and an exhibition on microfinance

In the Netherlands, NGOs, financial institutions, universities and consulting firms are involved in supporting the microfinance sector in developing countries. Thirteen funding organizations make up the Dutch Microfinance Platform, created in 2002: Hivos, Cordaid, Icco, Novib, Triodos, FMO, Oikocredit, ASN, ABN Amro, Doen Foundation, Rabobank Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) and Interpolis. The Platform, originally formed to enhance the effectiveness of microfinance, will coordinate the activities for the Year of Microcredit and act as the focal point, the Dutch National Committee.

Netherlands National Committee
Johan de Waard
Email: johan-de.waard@minbuza.nl
Franck Streppel
Email: Frank.Streppel@triodos.nl
*Resi Janssen (Coordinator of the Working Group on the Year of Microcredit)
Email: resi.janssen@novib.nl
Representing the Ministry of foreign affairs, Triodos Bank and Novib

In Norway, the Norwegian Development Network, a consortium of Norwegian NGOs, is planning concrete initiatives to promote the Year.

Monaco National Committee

Jérome Froissart
Administrateur Coopération internationale
Dervice des Relations Extérieures
9, rue Princesse Marie de Lorraine
MC 98000, Monaco
Tel: 377 93 15 89 63, Fax: 377 97 77 73 22
Email: jfroissart@troisseptsept.mc

In Sweden, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has recently produced its new microfinance guidelines and intends to communicate it widely during 2004 and 2005 to ensure a high quality and further expansion of Sweden’s support to microfinance. In observance of the Year, SIDA will consider making funds available for the Swedish Microfinance Network, a consortium of Swedish NGOs working in microfinance, to support activities in raising public awareness and knowledge about microfinance.

In Turkey, a proposed bill on microfinance institutions aims to establish adequate legal framework and regulatory principles for the operation of microfinance institutions. After the entry into force of this bill, Turkish microfinance institutions will participate in a conference to scale up the provision of financial services.

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Phorn Hun never had property of her own. She lived in a thatched-roof house along the fence of a pagoda. No one dared to give her a loan until Mrs. Hun approached ACLEDA Bank and explained her unfortunate situation. Read Phorn's entire success story >>
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