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Madagascar: UN Rural Dev. Fund Backs Small Biz

Madagascar: UN rural development fund to back small-scale enterprises

The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced today that it will spend more than $30 million to help farmers and other rural residents in Madagascar develop microenterprises to boost their incomes.

As many as 50,000 new jobs are expected to be created under the programme, which will offer training, improved technology and greater access to financial products and services - such as insurance and microfinance - to both existing and budding entrepreneurs in five regions across the Indian Ocean country. Young people will also receive professional training and apprenticeships.

The greatest efforts will be devoted to businesses based around craft work, an important activity in Madagascar, where there are an estimated 1.8 million microenterprises relating to this field. This largely informal sector contributes about $150 million to the national economy.

Benoît Therry, IFAD's country programme manager for Madagascar, said the programme - known as PROSPERER - is designed to support economic growth and overcome bottlenecks preventing entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.

IFAD will spend $30.3 million on the new programme, which is being co-financed by the OPEC Fund for International Development and the UN Capital Development Fund. Madagascar's Government and programme participants are also supplying some of the funding. The programme is also being backed by a $17.7 million loan from IFAD.


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