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Pacific Islanders to Benefit from Australian Help

More Pacific Islanders to Benefit from Australian Support for Microfinance

Last week, Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Hon Bob McMullan MP, announced that Australia would provide AUD2 million (around SBD13.5 million) over the next three years for the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP) to help increase access to financial services among low income, rural and remote households in Pacific Island communities.

PFIP is a Pacific-wide program helping provide sustainable financial services to low income and rural households. It was established in 2008 with funding from the United Nations Capital Development Fund, European Union and the United Nations Development Programme.

The Program works with microfinance institutions and financial service providers to help them deliver better quality services to more people, including the poor, many of whom have not had access to banking before.

Access to microfinance and banking services, including savings and deposit services, credit and loans and insurance services is increasingly being seen as important to reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Greater access to banking services also allows for more cost effective remittance flows to Pacific households from places like Australia and New Zealand.

'I have been impressed with the support provided already through this Program to increase Pacific Islanders' access to financial services, such as savings, credit and money transfers,' Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan said.

'Australia's support for this Program demonstrates our commitment to help broaden access to financial services across the Pacific,' Mr McMullan said.

Australia's assistance for the Program is consistent with the 2009 Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific, which recognises that private sector-led growth is essential to development progress, and notes that donors should encourage the private sector, including through microfinance.

ENDS

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