Small loans could halve world poverty: Sofia

20th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 April 2005, SANTIAGO - Queen Sofia of Spain said small loans can play a major role in reducing by half world poverty.

20 April 2005

SANTIAGO - Queen Sofia of Spain said small loans can play a major role in reducing by half world poverty.

The Spanish queen, on a visit to Chile, said these small loans could reduce over the next 10 years the number of people around the globe who survive on less than a dollar a day.

The monarch inaugurated the Latin America/Caribbean Region Microcredit Summit in Chile's capital.

Queen Sofia became interested in the subject in 1992, when she met the man behind the small loans initiative, economist Mohammed Yunus of Bangladesh.

Yunus, who was at the queen's side throughout the opening session, emphasized the size of the challenge of ending poverty.

He pointed out that even if the target set by Queen Sofia were to be met, that would still leave 600 million people mired in destitution.

The ceremony began with a display of some of the products made by micro-credit-funded enterprises, which are said to have helped more than 85 million people across the globe to escape from desperate poverty.

Queen Sofia reaffirmed her commitment to the effort to bring small loans to the whole of the developing world.

Indeed, the monarch has been attending these summits for more than a decade.

She hailed the progress of small loans, both in terms of expansion to more countries and their spread from rural areas to cities.

A key theme at the summit is the role of women, who are the recipients of 82.5 percent of these small loans.

"Poverty has a woman's face and lives in the countryside," said the chairman of the Central American Micro-credit Network, Reynold O. Walter, in his remarks at the opening of the gathering.

He noted that businesses financed through small loans currently employ 122 million people in Latin America.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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