CARTER MEETS WITH WORLD BANK PRESIDENT ZOELLICK
U.S. Congressman John Carter (TX-31), House Conference Secretary, today met with World Bank President Robert Zoellick to encourage the World Bank to invest more money in microcredit to help the world's very poor lift themselves out of poverty and improve the lives of their families.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to meet with President Zoellick and discuss how the World Bank can help fight the war against extreme poverty. I was encouraged to learn that the World Bank is significantly committed to supporting microfinance and look forward to future efforts on their part," Congressman Carter said. "My colleagues and I encouraged the World Bank to invest more money into small loans for the extremely poor in third-world countries in order to provide them a respectable path out of poverty. The meeting was Congress' opportunity to persuade the World Bank to increase its funding for microcredit loans and to make at least half of that money available to persons making less than $1 per day. These loans, often averaging less than $150, are used to help start up businesses, run farms, obtain better food, housing and education."
Microcredit refers to the tiny loans and other financial services made to very poor people in order to start or expand individual businesses and pull themselves out of poverty. The loans allow people to start and expand tiny businesses without depending on money-lenders who demand exorbitant interest rates.
According to RESULTS, a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization fighting to end world hunger, microcredit is an economically sustainable method of fighting poverty. In developing countries, the rate of repayment of well-established microcredit programs ranges from 95 to 99 percent. Microcredit is cost-effective: monies are loaned and paid back to programs and can then be used again by programs for new loans, providing other poor individuals with credit. For example, one estimate of Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) programs indicates that $1 million of loan capital invested in FINCA village bank will generate $15 million in small loans and $3 million in savings in five years.
"Microcredit has proven to be a very effective tool for enabling millions of families to raise themselves out of poverty," Jeff Platzer, a member of the RESULTS organization in Round Rock, Texas, said. "Congressman Carter has become a leader on microcredit issues in Congress. His leadership in initiating a meeting with President Zoellick lays the groundwork for ensuring that the World Bank adequately funds microcredit and that it is targeted to the very poor the World Bank is chartered to help."
"This is a revolutionary and innovative system that will not only provide the very poor with money to help with their immediate needs, but it will also teach them about capital and investing their money for future success," Carter continued. "After all, if you give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. But if you teach a man to fish; you have fed him for a lifetime."