05.06.2012 | PR09/2012
OFID Director-General Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish and Professor Yunus.
Vienna, Austria, June 5, 2012. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) begin a two-day Symposium today on the role of donors in accommodating, through microfinance, the basic needs of poor people in education, health, energy, housing, agriculture and basic financial services.
Microfinance is seen as a strong tool for alleviating poverty in developing countries. It helps generate jobs, raises living standards and, thus, contributes to socio-economic development. But microfinance institutions are often constrained by limited access to the necessary funds required to finance their growing client base. Despite collective global efforts that have somewhat reduced poverty, worldwide, poverty remains a serious obstacle to the development process.
The OFID/AGFUND Symposium is seeking to shed further light on the role and place of microfinance in moving the development process forward. Information will be shared on successful microfinance initiatives which involve the integration of financial and non-financial services in the sectors of health, education, energy, agriculture and housing. The Symposium’s other specific objectives include the promotion of microfinance and savings culture in developing countries; encouragement of donors and financiers to provide further financial support to microfinance institutions; and the proposition of new mechanisms to track future developments in microfinance in its battle against poverty and unemployment.
Among the speakers at the Symposium are OFID’s Director-General, Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish; Mr. Youssef Albassam, Vice President of AGFUND and representative of Saudi Arabia, on behalf of HRH Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, President of AGFUND; Mr. Nasser Al Kahtani, Executive director, AGFUND; and Professor Mohamed Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank. Participants also include international financial institutions; members of Arab Funds Coordination Group, microfinance institutions; and professionals as well as experts and consultants involved in microfinance. United Nations agencies are also present.
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