Interacting with 15 microfinance representatives from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, participants will be given the opportunity to deepen their understanding on how microfinance breaks the rules of conventional banking, by offering tailor-made services to the poor, lending particularly to women and giving small loans against very little collateral, thereby proving that banks can - if they choose - not only lend to the rich but also support small entrepreneurs and their families.
Led by the moderator of the day, radio-personality Julitta Münch of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, keynote speakers including Bärbel Höhn, Minister for Nature, Environment and Agriculture of North Rhine Westfalen, Sam Daley-Harris, Director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Diederik Laman Trip, Advisor for the UN Year of Microcredit will assess experiences with microfinance, underline the expectations of the United Nations and address how governments and private organisations can best enhance the impact of microfinance. Additional smaller seminars will focus on the regional challenges microfinance programmes encounter and on content themes such as 'How Microcredit empowers women', 'Microcredit in rural areas' and 'The future of Microcredit'. Highlight of the symposium will be a testimony by Irene Castro Quilca, farmer from the Peruvian highlands and beneficiary of the Microfinance Institution Edpyme Confianza.
For 30 years, Oikocredit has extended loans to viable enterprises of underprivileged people in among others the coffee, fair trade and microfinance sector. The demand for these credits continually increases. With over 60 million euros invested in 169 Microfinance Institutions around the globe by the end of 2004, Oikocredit is today one of the largest private investors in this sector. With a festive closing of the event, Oikocredit will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
To attend the event, register online by 15 May at www.oikocredit.org/microcredit