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UN Fund Supports Microfinance In Pakistan

UN agriculture development fund supports microfinance in Pakistan

The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced that it will provide a $35 million loan to a new $46 million programme making microfinance services available to about 160,000 new clients - at least half of them women.

"It is a pivotal time for microfinance in Pakistan," says Nigel Brett, IFAD's country programme manager for Pakistan. "Future growth in this sector will depend partly on microfinance institutions and commercial banks forging successful financing partnerships. This programme will work to build such partnerships."

The IFAD-supported programme will work with small farmers, livestock owners, traders and microentrepreneurs; women and households headed solely by women; and vulnerable rural households living below the poverty line.

In another development, IFAD announced an over $14 million project to boost the market value of Bolivia's millions of llamas, alpacas and undomesticated vicuñas in products like meat, hides and wool-based handicrafts, as well as eco-tourism. The agency will contribute a loan of $7.2 million for the initiative.

"The project will give poor rural people better access to financial services and provide them with technical assistance, knowledge and information, so that they can start small businesses," said Roberto Haudry de Soucy, IFAD's country programme manager for Bolivia.

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. Although GDP per capita grew during the 1990s, it was insufficient to reduce poverty, inequality and social exclusion, IFAD said. Poverty in rural areas is almost double the rate it is in capital cities, and extreme poverty is nearly triple.


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