UN Report: Role of Microcredit
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A. Microcredit and poverty eradication
5. Since the World Summit for Social Development the priority given to poverty eradication has grown. As stated in the previous report of the Secretary-General on the eradication of poverty (A/52/573), it is now broadly accepted that robust economic growth that is labour-intensive and equitable, combined with larger outlays of social expenditures, especially directed towards the poor (now estimated at 1,3 billion people), are a winning combination in the fight against poverty.
6. Several factors have led to increased interest in microcredit in promoting growth with greater equity. There has been a growth in the recognition of the importance of empowering all people by increasing their access to all the factors of production, including credit. In addition, the value of the role of non-governmental organizations in development is receiving more attention.
7. It is in that context that microcredit has recently assumed a certain degree of prominence. It is based on the recognition that the latent capacity of the poor for entrepreneurship would be encouraged with the availability of small-scale loans and would introduce them to the small-enterprise sector. This could allow them to be more self-reliant, create employment opportunities, and, not least, engage women in economically productive activities. Currently, there are estimated to be about 3,000 microfinance institutions in developing countries. These institution also help create deeper and more widespread financial markets in those countries.