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Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: Micro-finance in Africa

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: Micro-finance in Africa

Caritas Africa and its partners held a forum in September in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on how micro-finance programmes can create livelihoods to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Caritas in Africa is running many micro-finance programmes to provide access to small amounts of capital to help people set up businesses. The programmes allow families to save up money and over time repay the loans. Caritas targets those who have little access to formal credit or savings services, especially women.

Studies show women are more likely to use their loans and profits to benefit their families by investing in their businesses and using additional income to meet household needs such as purchasing more food, improving family housing and health care, paying children’s school fees, and saving for the future.

Caritas Uganda started its micro-finance activities as an emergency relief fund to war widows and people who lost their homes because of conflict. It grew into the Centenary Rural Development Bank, which is the largest microfinance institute in Uganda and the second largest bank in the country.

CRS (a Caritas member in the USA) has microfinance programmes that reach more than one million clients (69.9 percent women) in 36 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, President of Caritas Africa said, “Micro-finance is a proven strategy towards achieving the MDGs.”