Global Microcredit Summit 2011 Concluded in Spain
Global Microcredit Summit 2011 Concluded in Spain
The Global Microcredit Summit 2011 concluded yesterday in Valladoid, Spain with the aim to alleviate poverty and reach the MDG goals through microcredit which has already proven to bear positive results around the world. The four-day summit began on Monday 14th November, 2011. Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, and the founder of Grameen Bank, Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, opened the "Global Microcredit Summit" at a ceremony that also featured the participation of Soraya RodrÃguez, Spanish Secretary of State for Development Cooperation; Trinidad JimÃ©nez, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sam Daley-Harris, Director of the World Microcredit Campaign; Juan Vicente Herrera, President of the Autonomous Government of Castilla y LeÃ³n; and Francisco Javier LeÃ³n de la Riva, Mayor of Valladolid.
Professor Yunus said that "microcredit is a way of helping future generations, because they are the future." Yunus expressed regret that the crisis had forced decisions to be made that affected microcredit. Against this backdrop of dark clouds, he argued that "microcredit is a shining hope, creating light at the end of the tunnel."
Queen of Spain, Sofia, who is also the honorary co-chair of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, stated at the inauguration that "the world of microfinance and this Summit are absolutely necessary" to achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals and reduce by half the number of people living on less than one dollar a day. The Queen highlighted that "Spain has become the second largest donor [to the microfinance sector] in the world."
In her speech, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs said that Spain contributes more than any other OECD country to development cooperation, the seventh highest amount in the world. "The crisis has forced us to make decisions, but that will not affect our convictions. We must continue making effective progress toward the eradication of poverty."
The Spanish Secretary of State for Development Cooperation highlighted that 1.4 billion people live on less than one euro a day and that among the poorest people; eight out of every ten are women. Soraya RodrÃguez stressed the "courage, bravery and tenacity" of Professor Muhammad Yunus and emphasized that microfinance "opens up a window of opportunity," adding that "we need ideas and this Global Summit is a unique opportunity."
Microcredit summit authority has received a letter from Turkish Minister Fatma Sahin inviting to host the Global Microcredit Summit to be held in 2016, on behalf of the Prime minister. She mentions that "Prime Minister Erdogan is a long time friend of Professor Muhammad Yunus and a great supporter of microfinance." She reminded in the letter that the Prime minister inaugurated the Turkish Grameen microcredit program with Professor Yunus in 2003.
During the Summit, a photo exhibition by Daniel Mordzinski, titled "Yunus. The Banker of Dignity" was opened by Her Majesty, Sophia, Queen of Spain and Ramiro Ruiz Medrano, President of the Province of Valladolid. The streets of Valladolid are displaying pictures of Professor Yunus on it.
More than two thousand delegates from more than 90 countries attended the 2011 Global Microcredit Summit, including heads of state and government and other dignitaries. This summit provided the opportunity for microfinance practitioners, advocates, investors, donors, and others committed to the Campaign's goals to assess progress, discuss challenges to achieving the goals set for 2015 Microcredit Summit, share best practices, and accelerate innovations.
The 2011 Global Microcredit Summit included: 1) six cutting edge topics discussed in plenary, 2) over 50 workshop sessions, 3) a number of intensive day-long courses on a variety of subjects, and 4) some 30 additional associated sessions organized by delegates. Sessions at the Summit demonstrated that microfinance institutions can provide access to financial services and, in some cases, offer non-financial services that can contribute to improvements in the health, education and overall well-being of clients and their families. Professor Yunus urged everyone at the Summit to start social businesses, no matter how small. He stated "Once you have your goals set, then gradually, continuously, you can start solving social problems. The Wright Brothers did not create a jet airplane right away," he said. "You must create a solution then continuously improve it."
During the concluding ceremony, Professor Yunus hoped that the Global Summit in 2011 will have a positive impact in improving the microfinance field, and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He hoped that the Global Summit would become a landmark in the economic and social development of the poor.
The first Global Summit was held in Washington in 1997, which had set a goal to ensure that 100 million of the world's poorest families, especially women, would receive microcredit and other financial and business services by 2005. This target was nearly reached. Therefore, a new campaign was launched in November of 2006, with two new goals: to work to ensure that 175 million of the poorest families receive credit for self-employment and other services, as well as working to raise the income of 100 million families above the dollar a day threshold.